Rehabilitation Exercise for Dysphagia Subsequent to Stroke

The PI of this project was: Joanne Robbins, PhD

This project was funded by: VA and Graduate School Grant

The term of this project was: March 2010 to February 2012

The number of subjects scanned during this project was: 230

The aim of this study is to identify if improving tongue strength can actually improve the swallowing ability as well as the neural control of swallowing in healthy young and older adults and people post-stroke. If people qualify and consent, they will be asked to participate in 8 weeks of progressive lingual strengthening using a small device that will be provided to them for this time (known as the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument, IOPI). They will complete simple lingual exercises 3 times/day for 3 days of the week. During those 8 weeks, they will visit the UWHC three times: 1) At week 1 (baseline), to have their current tongue strength measured, to undergo a short videofluoroscopic (x-ray) swallow study, and to undergo an fMRI exam. During the fMRI exam, they will conduct simple swallowing and tongue pressing tasks. They also will undergo an anatomical MRI that will be used to measure their tongue volume. 2) At week 4 of the exercise protocol, they will return to the UWHC and complete the same protocol (without the x-ray swallow study). 3) At week 8, they will return for a final visit, during which they will repeat the same protocol as described for week 1.