Could New Research Into Swallowing Function Give Hope to Dysphagia Sufferers?
Swallowing difficulties, broadly categorised under the medical term
Dysphagia, are a debilitating problem for millions of people worldwide. Most commonly found in stroke victims and cancer patients, the condition can heap misery upon the life of its sufferers, unable to enjoy food or even feed oneself in many instances.
However, a new study has given a glimmer of hope to the many victims desperate to escape the confines that dysphagia brings, so what’s it all about?
Research carried out by Sonja Molfenter, assistant professor at Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University (NYU) has identified a correlation between size and height of a person and their swallowing function. The paper, entitled Use of an Anatomical Scalar to Control for Sex-Based Size Differences in Measures of Hyoid Excursion During Swallowing, develops upon the widely accepted theory that gender has an effect on the biomechanics of swallowing, by considering height as a determining factor as well.
Broadly speaking, men tend to have a greater movement in swallowing ability than women and Molfenter’s study reinforced this finding.
However, the paper also explored whether the gender of a person having an effect on swallowing function could be attributed to their height as opposed to just being a biological difference between men and women.
The results were conclusive in proving size is just as important as gender when it comes to determining swallowing function and this has left the door open to further research into analysing how we tackle the symptoms of dysphagia.
There has long been a need for more targeted, specialist treatments for those with difficulties swallowing tablets, food and even liquids so there is hope that Molfenter’s study could see further breakthroughs in what we know about the way the human body can and cannot deal with swallowing.
With new ideas come new hopes for the many sufferers of the debilitating condition of dysphagia and there is renewed optimism that this study could yet prompt further research into new methods and treatments to help tackle what is a crippling problem for so many stroke victims and other patients unlucky enough to suffer with swallowing difficulties.
With the report’s findings only just having been released, it is too early to determine just how much of an effect they will have into the research around dysphagia and the recovery process for stroke victims and cancer sufferers.
However, there is certainly positivity to be taken from the fact that this study has taken steps to address our understanding dysphagia and it can only provoke further investigation into the root causes of the condition and how we ultimately treat it.
Internationally published author ‘Running Free’ (Amazon) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Running-Free-Breaking-Locked-Syndrome/dp/1908006641. Speaker – http://www.kateallatt.com/ Founder Fighting Strokes. http://www.fightingstrokes.org/