Age-Related Variability in Tongue Pressure Patterns for Maximum Isometric and Saliva Swallowing Tasks Purpose The ability to generate tongue pressure plays a major role in bolus transport in swallowing. In studies of motor control, stability or variability of movement is a feature that changes with age, disease, task complexity, and perturbation. In this study, we explored whether age and tongue strength influence the ... Research Note
Research Note  |   November 09, 2017
Age-Related Variability in Tongue Pressure Patterns for Maximum Isometric and Saliva Swallowing Tasks
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Melanie Peladeau-Pigeon
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Ontario, Canada
  • Catriona M. Steele
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Ontario, Canada
    Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Catriona M. Steele: catriona.steele@uhn.ca
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Nancy Solomon
    Associate Editor: Nancy Solomon×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Speech / Research Notes
Research Note   |   November 09, 2017
Age-Related Variability in Tongue Pressure Patterns for Maximum Isometric and Saliva Swallowing Tasks
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3177-3184. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-16-0356
History: Received September 7, 2016 , Revised January 30, 2017 , Accepted June 9, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3177-3184. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-16-0356
History: Received September 7, 2016; Revised January 30, 2017; Accepted June 9, 2017

Purpose The ability to generate tongue pressure plays a major role in bolus transport in swallowing. In studies of motor control, stability or variability of movement is a feature that changes with age, disease, task complexity, and perturbation. In this study, we explored whether age and tongue strength influence the stability of the tongue pressure generation pattern during isometric and swallowing tasks in healthy volunteers.

Method Tongue pressure data, collected using the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument, were analyzed from 84 participants in sex-balanced and decade age-group strata. Tasks included maximum anterior and posterior isometric pressures and regular-effort saliva swallows. The cyclic spatiotemporal index (cSTI) was used to capture stability (vs. variability) in patterns of pressure generation. Mixed-model repeated measures analyses of covariance were performed separately for each task (anterior and posterior isometric pressures, saliva swallows) with between-participant factors of age group and sex, a within-participant factor of task repetition, and a continuous covariate of tongue strength.

Results Neither age group nor sex effects were found. There was no significant relationship between tongue strength and the cSTI on the anterior isometric tongue pressure task (r = −.11). For the posterior isometric tongue pressure task, a significant negative correlation (r = −.395) was found between tongue strength and the cSTI. The opposite pattern of a significant positive correlation (r = .29) between tongue strength and the cSTI was seen for the saliva swallow task.

Conclusions Tongue pressure generation patterns appear highly stable across repeated maximum isometric and saliva swallow tasks, despite advancing age. Greater pattern variability is seen with weaker posterior isometric pressures. Overall, saliva swallows had the lowest pressure amplitudes and highest pressure pattern variability as measured by the cSTI.

Acknowledgments
Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health (Grant 5R01DC011020 awarded to Catriona M. Steele) and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network. The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the Payload Science program at the Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition, the authors thank the following individuals for their assistance with data collection and processing: Edite Folfas, Sarah Hori, Elven Koo, Katherine Kovler, Katy Mak, Sonja Molfenter, Anna Nguyen, Tasnim Shariff, Chantale Spencer, Maddy Steele, Helen Wang, and Clemence Yee.
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