Variability in Tongue Movement Kinematics During Normal Liquid Swallowing
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This study sought to develop a quantitative kinematic description of tongue movement for liquid swallowing in a group of 12 healthy subjects. X-ray microbeam technology was used to track the positions of six small pellets attached to the tongue and jaw while subjects swallowed water at 2- and 10-mL bolus volumes. A feature common to all subjects was a prominent rostral movement of the dorsal region of the tongue. In addition, all subjects consistently increased the displacement and maximum speed of this tongue movement with increased bolus volume. However, detailed movement analysis showed a variety of tongue movement patterns for the group. This variability across subjects was large enough that it was surprisingly difficult to provide a low-dimension quantitative description of the tongue kinematics during liquid swallowing.
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