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.
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: Accepted 06 Oct 2006 , Received 15 Feb 2006
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology May 2007, Vol.16, 148-156. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2007/019)
History: Accepted 06 Oct 2006 , Received 15 Feb 2006

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.

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