Research  |   May 2007
Tongue Measures in Individuals With Normal and Impaired Swallowing
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie A. G. Stierwalt
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Scott R. Youmans
    Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY
  • Contact author: Julie A. G. Stierwalt, 325 Regional Rehab Center, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306. E-mail: julie.stierwalt@comm.fsu.edu.
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders
Research   |   May 2007
Tongue Measures in Individuals With Normal and Impaired Swallowing
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2007, Vol. 16, 148-156. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2007/019)
History: Received February 15, 2006 , Accepted October 6, 2006
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2007, Vol. 16, 148-156. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2007/019)
History: Received February 15, 2006; Accepted October 6, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 37

Purpose: This investigation sought to add to the extant literature on measures of normal tongue function, to provide information on measures of tongue function in a group of individuals with oral phase dysphagia, and to provide a comparison of these 2 groups matched for age and gender.

Method: The Iowa Oral Performance Instrument was utilized to measure tongue function (strength and endurance) in a group of individuals with normal (N = 200) and impaired (N = 50) swallowing. The peak measure of 3 encouraged trials was recorded as participants’ strength, and 50% of their peak was sustained as long as possible for endurance.

Results: Results for the control group supported previous investigations wherein greater tongue strength was found in males than in females and in the youngest versus oldest groups. The experimental group demonstrated a similar trend in strength for gender. When matched for age and gender, the experimental group demonstrated significantly lower strength. Significant differences were not revealed on measures of tongue endurance.

Conclusions: We were able to extend the normative database on tongue function and document reduced tongue strength in a group of individuals with dysphagia. The findings provide evidence that in this group, tongue weakness coincided with signs of dysphagia, adding justification for tongue-strengthening protocols.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the students, faculty, and practicing clinicians who assisted with data collection for this study. We would also like to thank the following facilities that allowed data collection: Younker Rehabilitation, Des Moines, IA; Missouri Rehabilitation Center, Mount Vernon, MO; Missouri State University Speech and Hearing Clinic, Springfield, MO; and the L. L. Schendel Speech and Hearing Clinic at Florida State University, Tallahassee. Finally, and as always, thank you to the individuals who gave their time and energy in order to participate in this investigation.
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