Temporal and Biomechanical Characteristics of Oropharyngeal Swallow in Younger and Older Men As the U.S. population ages, there is increasing need for data on the effects of aging in healthy elderly individuals over age 80. This investigation compared the swallowing ability of 8 healthy younger men between the ages of 21 and 29 and 8 healthy older men between the ages of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2000
Temporal and Biomechanical Characteristics of Oropharyngeal Swallow in Younger and Older Men
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jeri A. Logemann
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Barbara Roa Pauloski
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Alfred W. Rademaker
    The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center Biostatistics Section Department of Preventive Medicine Northwestern University Medical School Chicago, IL
  • Laura A. Colangelo
    The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center Biostatistics Section Department of Preventive Medicine Northwestern University Medical School Chicago, IL
  • Peter J. Kahrilas
    Department of Medicine Division of Gastroenterology Northwestern University Medical School Chicago, IL
  • Christina H. Smith
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Contact author: Jeri A. Logemann, PhD, Northwestern University, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 2299 North Campus Drive, #3-358, Evanston, IL 60208-3570. Email: j-logemann@nwu.edu
    Contact author: Jeri A. Logemann, PhD, Northwestern University, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 2299 North Campus Drive, #3-358, Evanston, IL 60208-3570. Email: j-logemann@nwu.edu×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: j-logemann@nwu.edu
  • Currently at Department of Human Communication Science, University College of London, London, U.K.
    Currently at Department of Human Communication Science, University College of London, London, U.K.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2000
Temporal and Biomechanical Characteristics of Oropharyngeal Swallow in Younger and Older Men
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2000, Vol. 43, 1264-1274. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4305.1264
History: Received September 10, 1999 , Accepted March 10, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2000, Vol. 43, 1264-1274. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4305.1264
History: Received September 10, 1999; Accepted March 10, 2000

As the U.S. population ages, there is increasing need for data on the effects of aging in healthy elderly individuals over age 80. This investigation compared the swallowing ability of 8 healthy younger men between the ages of 21 and 29 and 8 healthy older men between the ages of 80 and 94 during two swallows each of 1 ml and 10 ml liquid. Videofluoroscopic studies of these swallows were analyzed to confirm the absence of swallowing disorders. Biomechanical analysis of each swallow was completed, from which data on temporal, range of motion, and coordination characteristics of the oropharyngeal swallow were taken. Position of the larynx at rest, length of neck, and pattern of hyoid bone movement were also compared between the two groups. None of the younger or older men exhibited any swallowing disorders. The C2 to C4 distance of older men was significantly shorter than that of younger men, and laryngeal position at rest was lower than in younger men but not significantly so. Older men had a significantly longer pharyngeal delay than younger men and significantly faster onset of posterior pharyngeal wall movement in relation to first cricopharyngeal opening. The older men exhibited significantly reduced maximum vertical and anterior hyoid movement as compared to the younger men even when accounting for the difference in C2 to C4 distance in older men. These data support the hypothesis of reduced muscular reserve in the swallows of older men as compared to younger men. Older men also exhibited less width of cricopharyngeal opening than younger men at 10 ml volume, indicating less upper esophageal sphincter flexibility in the swallows of older men. The potential for exercise to improve reserve is discussed. Significant changes in extent of hyoid elevation and duration of cricopharyngeal opening were seen as liquid bolus volume increased.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by NIH/NCI grant # P01 CA40007 and NS 28525.
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