The Effects of Taste and Consistency on Swallow Physiology in Younger and Older Healthy Individuals A Surface Electromyographic Study Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2003
The Effects of Taste and Consistency on Swallow Physiology in Younger and Older Healthy Individuals
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ruiying Ding
    Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Jeri A. Logemann
    Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Charles R. Larson
    Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Alfred W. Rademaker
    The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center Northwestern University Medical School Chicago, IL
  • Contact author: Ruiying Ding, MA, 284 Stanton Drive, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089. E-mail: rding86@hotmail.com
  • Currently affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
    Currently affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2003
The Effects of Taste and Consistency on Swallow Physiology in Younger and Older Healthy Individuals
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2003, Vol. 46, 977-989. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/076)
History: Received September 14, 2002 , Accepted February 24, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2003, Vol. 46, 977-989. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/076)
History: Received September 14, 2002; Accepted February 24, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 69

Recent studies done on healthy older individuals have demonstrated elevated taste thresholds for sweet, sour, and salty taste. At suprathreshold levels, such individuals have also shown less ability to discriminate between different intensities of the same tastant. This study was designed to provide information on swallow timing and muscle contraction intensity variables in healthy older people during swallowing of liquid and cottage cheese consistencies in 3 taste conditions (sweet, salty, and sour). Taste and consistency were incorporated in the design of this study to determine not only the effect of taste and consistency independently, but also the effects of taste and consistency in combination. Surface electromyography (EMG) at 3 sites—the orbicularis oris inferior region, submental muscle region, and infrahyoid muscle region—were included in the study.

Results revealed that the start of submental muscle activation was significantly later in older participants than in younger participants. The 3 taste conditions had higher EMG levels and shorter activation times than the no-taste condition, although different taste conditions and different muscle sites were affected differently. With thicker consistency, substantially increased EMG amplitude and duration were noted for all three sites. A more pronounced effect of taste was manifested as earlier submental or infrahyoid muscle activation when the three tastants were added to a thicker consistency. Interaction of taste, consistency, and age was also noted for onset time at the submental and infrahyoid sites.

Acknowledgment
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute Grant P01 CA40007.
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