Speech-language pathologists frequently use surface electromyography (sEMG) biofeedback techniques as a tool to facilitate therapy in patients with swallowing disorders. Data are needed to compare disordered swallow strength to normal swallow strength. The present study establishes a normative database on normal swallowing force in two age groups, 18-25 year olds and 60 years and older. In addition to this database, this investigation also sought to answer three questions:1) Do older adults (60+) swallow with less force than young adults (18-25)? 2) Is there a difference in the amount of swallowing force elicited between the voluntary process and the swallow to command process? 3) Are there differences in swallowing force between the sizes of bolus that are being swallowed? Swallow to command swallows were compared with voluntary swallows on 5ml, 10ml, and 20ml of water. Statistical analysis comparing participant age and swallowing process showed that there is a significant increase in swallowing force during the swallow to command and no difference in swallowing force between participant age groups. There were no significant differences in either voluntary or swallow to command tasks. We conclude that in swallowing therapy using sEMG it may be more beneficial to use swallow to command procedures where muscle recruitment is higher so that swallowing function can be facilitated.
O'Kane, L. (2009). Surface Electromyography and Normal Swallowing Force (Undergraduate honors thesis, University of Redlands). Retrieved from http://inspire.redlands.edu/cas_honors/68