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Authors Russell JA, Ciucci MR, Hammer MJ, Connor NP
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Journal Dysphagia Volume: 28 Issue: 1 Pages: 95-104
Publish Date 2013 Mar
PubMed ID 22763806
PMC ID 3554861

Dysphagia is commonly associated with aging and Parkinson disease and can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. In some cases, dysphagia may be life-threatening. Animal models may be used to study underlying mechanisms of dysphagia, but paradigms that allow adequate imaging of the swallow in combination with measurement of physiological variables have not been forthcoming. To begin development of methods that allow this, we used videofluorography to record the deglutition behaviors of 22 Fisher 344/Brown Norway rats in young adult (9 months old), old (32 months old), and parkinsonian (unilateral lesion to the medial forebrain bundle) groups. We hypothesized that the old and parkinsonian rats would manifest deficits in deglutition behaviors analogous to those found in human clinical populations. Our results supported our hypothesis in that the old group demonstrated reductions in bolus transport speeds and mastication rate while the parkinsonian rats showed impairments in oral processing. Interpretation of these results should consider the particular animal model, lesion type, and videofluorographic protocol used in this work. Future studies will link swallow imaging data of this kind with physiological and anatomical data in a manner not possible with human participants.

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