Using tongue-strengthening exercise programs in dysphagia intervention

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Publication details

Adams, V, Callister, R & Mathisen, B 2011, 'Using tongue-strengthening exercise programs in dysphagis intervention', Asia Pacific Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 139-146.

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Purpose: The purpose of this article was to review the literature with regard to use of tongue-strengthening exercise in the management of swallowing disorders (dysphagia) such as those with cerebrovascular accident (stroke) or head and neck cancer.

Methods: A database of articles published from 1984 to June 2010 was compiled from MEDLINE, CINAHL, and PubMed using combinations of the following key words: exercise, exercise therapy, swallowing, dysphagia, stroke, cerebrovascular disorder, tongue strength, tongue-strength exercise, lingual strength, age, intensity, head and neck cancer, and swallowing rehabilitation. References listed in identified publications as well as abstracts were examined. Studies that satisfied the following selection criteria were included: (1) individuals had a diagnosis of dysphagia after stroke or head and neck cancer; (2) effects of tongue-strength exercises were examined; and (3) the design of the studies was either randomized control trial (RCT), prospective cohort intervention study, or case study.

Results: Analysis of candidate studies showed that tongue-strengthening exercise is applicable to dysphagia intervention in general. However, the optimum dose, frequency, and duration of the exercise required to rehabilitate tongue function has yet to be established.

Conclusion: Tongue-strengthening exercise has the potential to be a simple yet effective therapeutic tool to add to the options for swallowing rehabilitation in adults.

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