Tongue Movements During Water Swallowing in Healthy Young and Older Adults PurposeThe purpose of this study was to explore the nature and extent of variability in tongue movement during healthy swallowing as a function of aging and gender. In addition, changes were quantified in healthy tongue movements in response to specific differences in the nature of the swallowing task (discrete vs. ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2009
Tongue Movements During Water Swallowing in Healthy Young and Older Adults
 
Author Notes
  • Contact author: Catriona M. Steele, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, 550 University Avenue, # 12030, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2A2, Canada. E-mail: steele.catriona@torontorehab.on.ca.
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech
Article   |   October 01, 2009
Tongue Movements During Water Swallowing in Healthy Young and Older Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2009, Vol. 52, 1255-1267. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0131)
History: Received July 7, 2008 , Accepted December 10, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2009, Vol. 52, 1255-1267. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0131)
History: Received July 7, 2008; Accepted December 10, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 29

PurposeThe purpose of this study was to explore the nature and extent of variability in tongue movement during healthy swallowing as a function of aging and gender. In addition, changes were quantified in healthy tongue movements in response to specific differences in the nature of the swallowing task (discrete vs. sequential swallows).

MethodElectromagnetic midsagittal articulography (EMMA) was used to study the swallowing-related movements of markers located in midline on the anterior (blade), middle (body), and posterior (dorsum) tongue in a sample of 34 healthy adults in 2 age groups (under vs. over 50 years of age). Participants performed a series of reiterated water swallows, in either a discrete or a sequential manner.

ResultsThis study shows that age-related changes in tongue movements during swallowing are restricted to the domain of movement duration. The authors confirm that different tongue regions can be selectively modulated during swallowing tasks and that both functional and anatomical constraints influence the manner in which tongue movement modulation occurs. Sequential swallowing, in comparison to discrete swallowing, elicits simplification or down-scaling of several kinematic parameters.

ConclusionThe data illustrate task-specific stereotyped patterns of tongue movement in swallowing, which are robust to the effects of healthy aging in all aspects other than movement duration.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Grants IAO-69521 and MOP-644200) and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and in part from the Canada Research Chairs Program. Equipment and space were funded with grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Province of Ontario. We acknowledge the support of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, which receives funding under the Provincial Rehabilitation Research Program from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Ministry. Additionally, the authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Aravind Namasivayam, Janice Waugh Bennett, Mitsuko Takeuchi, Anna Ammoury, and Becky Cliffe with data collection and analysis.
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