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Authors Krekeler BN, Connor NP
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Journal Laryngoscope Volume: 127 Issue: 1 Pages: E29-E34
Publish Date 2017 Jan
PubMed ID 27260802
PMC ID 5136355

Aging results in progressive changes in deglutitive functions, which may be due in part to alterations in muscle morphology and physiology. Mastication is a critical component of bolus formation and swallowing, but aging effects on masticatory function have not been well studied.The purpose of this study was to 1) quantify the effects of aging on mastication, and 2) determine the effects of tongue exercise on mastication in young adult and old rats. We hypothesized that there would be significant differences in mastication characteristics (number of bites, interval between bites, time to eat) as a function of age, and that tongue exercise would resolve preexercise differences between age groups.We expanded the established model of progressive, 8-week tongue exercise to include a mastication measurement: acoustic recordings of vermicelli pasta biting from 17 old and 17 young adult rats, randomized into exercise and control groups.We found the following: 1) Mastication characteristics were impacted by age. Specifically in older rats, there was an increase in time to eat and number of bites and intervals between bites decreased, suggesting increased oral motor-processing requirements for bolus formation. 2) tongue exercise did not impact mastication behaviors in young adult or old rats.Tongue exercise may not have been specific enough to result in behavioral changes in mastication or exercise dose may not have been sufficient. Nevertheless, results were noteworthy in expanding the established rat model of aging and have relevant clinical implications for future translation to human populations.NA Laryngoscope, 127:E29-E34, 2017.

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