The Effects of Tongue Exercise on Swallowing in Frail Adults

The PI of this project was: Joanne Robbins, PhD

This project was funded by: Department of Veterans Affairs

The term of this project was: March 2004 to February 2006

The number of subjects scanned during this project was: 40

The aim of this study is to determine if an 8-week lingual exercise program will increase isometric tongue strength, maximum tongue strength during swallowing, rate of maximum lingual strength generation, and lingual volume, thereby influencing direction and duration of bolus flow through the oropharynx in frail dysphagic individuals significantly more than standard swallowing intervention. Subjects will undergo (a) standard swallowing treatment, or (b) standard swallowing treatment plus an 8-week tongue exercise program. MRI will be performed at baseline, week 4, and week 8. T2-weighted MR images will be acquired without fat suppression and will be used to quantify volumetric aspects of the intrinsic and portions of the extrinsic lingual musculature. The total area will be measured on each slice, and the volume will be determined by adding the areas and multiplying by the slice thickness. Volumetric measures of the tongue will be compared at weeks 1, 4, and 8.