, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 192-206

Influence of Bolus Consistency on Lingual Behaviors in Sequential Swallowing

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Abstract

Thickened liquids are a commonly recommended intervention for dysphagia. Previous research has documented differences in temporal aspects of bolus transit for paste versus liquid consistencies; however, the influence of liquid viscosity on tongue movements during swallowing remains unstudied. We report an analysis of the influence of bolus consistency on lingual kinematics during swallowing. Electromagnetic midsagittal articulography was used to trace tongue body and dorsum movement during sequential swallows of three bolus consistencies: thin, nectar-thick, and honey-thick liquids. Rheological profiling was conducted to characterize viscosity and density differences among six liquids (two of each consistency). Eight healthy volunteers participated; four were in a younger age cohort (under age 30) and four were over the age of 50. The primary difference observed across the liquids of interest was a previously unreported phenomenon of sip-mass modulation; both flavor and density appeared to influence sip-sizing behaviors. Additionally, significantly greater variability in lingual movement patterns was observed in the older subject group. Systematic variations in lingual kinematics related to bolus consistency were restricted to the variability of downward tongue dorsum movement. Otherwise, the present analysis failed to find empirical evidence of significant modulations in tongue behaviors across the thin to honey-thick consistency range.