Tongue control for swallowing in Parkinson's disease: effects of age, rate, and stimulus consistency.

Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto, and Toronto Western Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Movement Disorders (Impact Factor: 4.56). 05/2011; 26(9):1725-9. DOI: 10.1002/mds.23690
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Patients with Parkinson's disease often suffer from swallowing problems, especially at more advanced stages of the disease. Efficient swallows require well-coordinated tongue movements during bolus flow, but little is known about such movements in Parkinson's disease.
The current study presents data on tongue movements for patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease (n=10), age-matched adults (n=13), and younger healthy adults (n=15).
Participants with Parkinson's disease showed smaller and more variable movements in the horizontal movement plane, indicating that tongue movements are affected in early stages of Parkinson's disease.
The small and more variable movements in the horizontal plane of Patients with Parkinson's disease may pose challenges for swallowing liquids efficiently and safely.