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Guide to Enhancing Swallowing Initiation: Insights from Findings in Healthy Subjects and Dysphagic Patients

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Abstract

Purpose of Review

Difficulty in initiating swallowing is one of the main symptoms of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Therefore, enhancing swallowing initiation is an important approach for the treatment of oropharyngeal dysphagia. This review aims to introduce recent approaches to enhancing swallowing and to discuss their therapeutic potential.

Recent Findings

Both central interventions such as non-invasive brain stimulation and peripheral interventions such as electrical stimulation to peripheral tissues are conducted to enhance swallowing. Recent studies have paid more attention to generating neuroplasticity to produce long-lasting facilitative effect on swallowing.

Summary

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), pharyngeal electrical stimulation (PES), transcutaneous electrical stimulation, and somatic and chemical stimulation were introduced. Considerable evidence supports the therapeutic potential of TMS and PES. Other approaches need further studies to verify their efficacy (e.g., duration of the effect and a limit of effectiveness) and/or possible risk of adverse effects.

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Correspondence to Kensuke Yamamura.

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Kensuke Yamamura holds a patent (#6049010) with the Japan Patent Office.

Masayuki Kurose and Keiichiro Okamoto declare that they have no competing interests.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Swallowing Disorders

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Yamamura, K., Kurose, M. & Okamoto, K. Guide to Enhancing Swallowing Initiation: Insights from Findings in Healthy Subjects and Dysphagic Patients. Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep 6, 178–185 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40141-018-0192-y

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Keywords

  • Swallowing
  • Swallowing initiation
  • Stimulation
  • Plasticity
  • Dysphagia
  • Review