The development of normal feeding and swallowing.
ABSTRACT The development of feeding skills is an extremely complex process influenced by multiple anatomic, neurophysiologic, environmental, social, and cultural factors. Most children negotiate the necessary developmental sequence without significant difficulties. An understanding of the development of normal feeding abilities aids the pediatrician in monitoring this remarkable process in his or her normal patients. This understanding also helps equip the pediatrician who is challenged by a child with complex feeding problems. The following statements summarize the major elements of feeding development. 1. Structural integrity is essential to the development of normal feeding and swallowing skills. Infant anatomy differs from adult anatomy. Anatomic changes associated with growth affect feeding function. 2. Normal infant feeding is reflexive, under brainstem control, and does not require suprabulbar input. As feeding development progresses, basic brainstem-mediated responses come under voluntary control through the process of encephalization. 3. The mature swallow consists of a voluntary oral-preparatory phase, a voluntary oral phase, and involuntary pharyngeal and esophageal phases. The infant swallow does not have a voluntary oral-preparatory and oral phase but is otherwise similar. 4. The neurophysiologic control of feeding and swallowing is complex and involves sensory afferent nerve fibers, motor efferent fibers, paired brainstem swallowing centers, and suprabulbar neural input. Close integration of sensory and motor functions is essential to the development of normal feeding skills. 5. Feeding development, although dependent on structural integrity and neurologic maturation, is a learned progression of behaviors. This learning is heavily influenced by oral sensation, fine and gross motor development, and experiential opportunities. 6. The basic physiologic complexity of feeding is compounded by individual temperament, interpersonal relationships, environmental influences, and culture. 7. The main goal of feeding is the acquisition of sufficient nutrients for optimal growth and development. Malnutrition may result directly from feeding problems and may also help perpetuate them. 8. Protection of the airway during swallow is a reflexive, multileveled function consisting of the apposition of the epiglottis and aryepiglottic folds and the adduction of both false and true vocal folds.
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ABSTRACT: The development of feeding and swallowing involves a highly complex set of interactions that begin in embryologic and fetal periods and continue through infancy and early childhood. This article will focus on swallowing and feeding development in infants who are developing normally with a review of some aspects of prenatal development that provide a basis for in utero sucking and swallowing. Non-nutritive sucking in healthy preterm infants, nipple feeding in preterm and term infants, and selected processes of continued development of oral skills for feeding throughout the first year of life will be discussed. Advances in research have provided new information in our understanding of the neurophysiology related to swallowing, premature infants' sucking and swallowing patterns, and changes in patterns from preterm to near term to term infants. Oral skill development as texture changes are made throughout the second half of the first year of life is an under studied phenomenon. Knowledge of normal developmental progression is essential for professionals to appreciate differences from normal in infants and children with feeding and swallowing disorders. Additional research of infants and children who demonstrate overall typical development in oral skills for feeding is encouraged and will provide helpful reference points in increasing understanding of children who exhibit differences from typical development. It is hoped that new technology will provide noninvasive means of delineating all phases of sucking and swallowing from prenatal through infancy. Further related topics in other articles of this issue provide a comprehensive review of factors influencing oral intake, growth, nutrition, and neurodevelopmental status of children.Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 01/2008; 14(2):105-17. · 2.79 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Drinking and eating are essential skills for survival and benefit from the coordination of several pattern generating networks and their musculoskeletal effectors to achieve safe swallows. Oralpharyngoesophageal motility develops during infancy and early childhood, and is influenced by various factors, including neuromuscular maturation, dietary and postural habits, arousal state, ongoing illnesses, congenital anomalies, and the effects of medical or surgical interventions. Gastroesophageal reflux is frequent in neonates and infants, and its role in neonatal morbidity including dysphagia, chronic lung disease, or apparent life-threatening events is not well understood. This review highlights recent studies aimed at understanding the development of oral feeding skills, and cross-system interactions among the brainstem, spinal, and cerebral networks involved in feeding. Functional linkages between suck-swallow and swallow-respiration manifest transitional forms during late gestation through the first year of life, which can be delayed or modified by sensory experience or disease processes, or both. Relevant central pattern generator (CPG) networks and their neuromuscular targets attain functional status at different rates, which ultimately influences cross-system CPG interactions. Entrainment of trigeminal primary afferents accelerates pattern genesis for the suck CPG and transition-to-oral feed in the RDS preterm infant. The genesis of within-system CPG control for rate and amplitude scaling matures differentially for suck, mastication, swallow, and respiration. Cross-system interactions among these CPGs represent targets of opportunity for new interventions, which optimize experience-dependent mechanisms to promote safe swallows among newborn and pediatric patients.Current opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery 07/2009; 17(3):187-93.
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ABSTRACT: Swallowing impairments are treated mostly behaviorally. It is requisite to understand the relationship of cognition, specifically attention, with swallowing since so many swallowing impairments occur concomitantly with cognitive disorders. This study examined the hypothesis that attentional resources are required during swallowing. The approach involved a dual-task, reaction time (RT) paradigm in ten healthy, nonimpaired participants. Baseline measures were obtained of the duration of the anticipatory phase and of the oropharyngeal phase of swallowing and the RTs to nonword auditory stimuli. A dual-task then required participants to swallow 5 ml of water from an 8-oz. cup while listening for a target nonword presented auditorily during the anticipatory or the oropharyngeal phase. Target stimuli were randomized across baseline and dual-task trials. Duration of the anticipatory phase and of the oropharyngeal phase of swallowing and duration of the RT baseline trial and of the dual-task trial were determined. Results showed a statistically significant increase in speed of the anticipatory phase, relative to the oropharyngeal phase, for swallowing during the dual-task. RTs were slowed for both the anticipatory and the oropharyngeal phase during the dual-task, although neither of these was statistically significant. Clinical implications of these data suggest that disruptive stimuli in the environment to nonimpaired individuals may alter feeding but have little effect on the oropharyngeal swallow.Dysphagia 09/2011; 27(3):307-17. · 1.94 Impact Factor