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For centuries, swallowing was believed to be the result of a simple brain stem reflex, in the traditional sense. We recognized the role head & neck anatomy integral to speech production may share with the life-sustaining and satisfying function of swallowing, but were unsure how speech-language pathologists were able to contribute to diagnosing and treating dysphagia.
This course will clarify the new advances in swallowing physiology, neural underpinnings through screening and diagnostic methods and their implications for swallowing function and rehabilitation. Information will apply to speech-language pathologists in hospital, rehabilitation, assisted living and long-term care settings. The role of neural circuitry from brain stem to cortex as currently understood in stroke, head & neck cancer, neurodegenerative diseases including dementia, aging and frailty will be presented with major focus on therapeutic interventions with both a bottom up and a top down perspective for systemically approaching treatment. The role of compensatory strategies relative to more rigorous rehabilitative methods will be a focus. Special topics will include the modification of head, neck and end-organ structures, access of neural plasticity for dysphagia treatment, dining as an endurance task, biophysically designed beverages and foods, standardized clinical practice, and novel evidence-based exercise protocols for enhancing swallowing and dining. Time ordering of multiple strategies also will be discussed to provide optimal outcomes.
Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:
Explain aging effects on swallowing, acknowledging peripheral and central contributions
State the benefits of imaging in swallowing diagnosis, clinical research and treatment
Discuss the implementation of progressive resistance exercise for dysphagia treatment
Develop combined interventional approaches for specific patient profiles
Clarify parameters, in addition to viscosity, important for developing “biophysically designed” beverages
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