Swallowing is a well-coordinated activity regulated by the hyolaryngeal muscles and at least five cranial nerves. Swallowing disorders, or dysphagia, can impact nutrition and quality of life for infants. The proposed study aims to further the understand sensory motor integration between the oral phase and pharyngeal phase of the infant swallow. I will use an infant pig model to study the impact of locally anesthetizing palatal and perioral sensory nerves on swallowing kinematics and motor response. I hypothesize that this oral sensory deficit will result in decreased airway protection during swallowing. I will recod feeding with simultaneous videofluroscopy and EMG recording for local anesthetic and saline treatments to both the perioral and palatal regions and compare them to controls to determine the effect of oral sensation on the pharyngeal swallow. Understanding the mechanism by which oral sensory information regulates hyolaryngeal muscle function will be important for developing techniques to rehabilitate infants with dysphagia. The findings of the proposed study could lead to new devices that are maximally effective for dysphagia rehabilitation.
Normal swallowing and feeding is necessary for health and quality of life. The aim of this proposal is to understand the role of oral sensation during sucklig and swallowing. If oral sensory afferents affect suckling and swallowing ability, then stimulating the oral region may be used as a component of dysphagia rehabilitation.
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