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Helping Parkinson’s Patients Swallow Easier

Christine Sapienza displays the strength training device she helped design.
Christine Sapienza displays the strength training device she helped design.

This article was originally printed in the November 2005 issue of CLASnotes.

While lodging at a Gainesville hotel during the filming of the hit movie Doc Hollywood in the fall of 1990, actor Michael J. Fox experienced his first symptoms of early onset Parkinson’s disease. Now, 15 years later, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has awarded UF Communication Sciences and Disorders Professor and Chair Christine Sapienza a $280,000 clinical discovery grant to examine the outcome of a strength-training program on the swallowing muscles of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

“Patients with Parkinson’s have difficulty swallowing and, as the disease progresses, the dysfunction gets worse and worse,” Sapienza says. “When you can’t swallow, you can aspirate—which can lead to a lung infection.” Aspiration pneumonia is the number one cause of death among patients with Parkinson’s, and while medications can help alleviate other symptoms of the illness, they do not substantially improve the muscles involved with swallow function. “While we are waiting for a cure for Parkinson’s, we need to help them deal with swallow dysfunction now and work to improve not only the quality of life, but longevity.”

Sapienza and colleagues Paul Davenport, a professor in the Department of Physiological Sciences, and Danny Martin, a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, have developed a patent-pending handheld device that trains the expiratory muscles, and have created an accompanying training program that is easy to follow and complete at home. Once participants receive preliminary training on how to use the device, they are free to exercise with it on their own. “You can’t go to the gym and work out your breathing and swallowing muscles,” Sapienza says. “So this is basically a weightlifting device for your respiratory and swallowing muscles.”

From previous research completed by Sapienza and colleagues, the device is already known to improve expiratory muscle strength, toning the muscles needed for exhaling. The new grant will fund a two-year study to document whether the device also cross-trains the suprahyoid muscles used for swallowing.

Using x-ray technology, Sapienza and colleagues at the Gainesville VA Medical Center, Nan Musson and Jay Rosenbek, will record before and after images of participants’ swallow—capturing as many as 60 frames per second—to analyze whether strength training improves their ability to swallow. They will analyze swallow function during a variety of tasks, including the ability to swallow foods of different thicknesses. They also will examine other issues, including variability of swallow function in Parkinson’s disease.

The invention already has been tested on healthy adults, a subset of whom are musicians, as well as those with voice disorders and multiple sclerosis patients. Sapienza hopes, if proven effective, the device will be found applicable to a number of illnesses. “It’s Parkinson’s today, other neurological disorders tomorrow.”

Grants through the Division of Sponsored Research

September 2005: $4,365,289
September 2005 Grants

BURNS A F

ANT

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$2,000

GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM - COST OF EDUCATION ALLOWANCE

MULLIGAN C J

ANT

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$99,573

HUMAN DISPERSALS OUT OF AFRICA: MITOCHONDRIAL AND Y CHROMOSOME GENETIC ANALYSIS OF ERITREAN AND OMANI POPULATIONS

MULLIGAN C J

ANT

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$25,179

HUMAN DISPERSALS OUT OF AFRICA: MITOCHONDRIAL AND Y CHROMOSOME GENETIC ANALYSIS OF ERITREAN AND OMANI POPULATIONS

SARAJEDINI A

AST

CALIFORNIA INST OF TECHNOLOGY NASA

$52,486

ANCHORING THE POPULATION II DISTANCE SCALE: ACCURATE AGES FOR GLOBULAR CLUSTERS AND FIELD HALO STARS

GE J

AST

NASA GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER

$29,200

INFRARED SILICON IMMERSION GRATING TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

EIKENBERRY S S

AST

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$101,324

GRADUATE STUDENT PARTICIPATION AND OPTICS UPGRADES FOR THE CANARIAS INFRERED CAMERA EXPERIMENT

SARAJEDINI A

AST

SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INST NASA

$17,044

THE FORMATION HISTORY OF THE M81 SPHEROID

GORDON D R

BOT

DEPT OF AGRICUL & CONSUMER SER

$10,476

TESTING A PREDICTIVE SCREENING TOOL FOR REDUCING INTRODUCTION OF INVASIVE PLANTS TO FLORIDA - DPI

GORDON D R; FOX A M

BOT

DEPT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECT

$26,190

TESTING A PREDICTIVE SCREENING TOOL FOR REDUCING INTRODUCTIONS OF INVASIVE PLANTS IN FLORIDA

MACK M C, CARDELUS C

BOT

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$5,000

MINORITY POSTDOC FELLOWSHIP 2003: DOES EPIPHYTE FUNCTIONAL DIVERSITY AFFECT NUTRIENT PARTITIONING AND RETENTION IN WET

SCHUUR E A, SICKMAN J O

BOT

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$594,930

THE CARBON BALANCE OF ARCTIC TUNDRA IN RESPONSE TO PERMAFROSTHAWING: USING RADIOCARBON TO DETECT THE LOSS OF OLD SOIL

GORDON D R, FOX A M

BOT

U S DEPT OF AGRICULTURE

$16,364

TESTING A PREDICTIVE SCREENING TOOL FOR REDUCING INTRODUCTION OF INVASIVE PLANTS TO FLORIDA - AHPIS/PPQ

SCHUUR E A

BOT

U S DEPT OF THE INTERIOR NATL PARK SERVICE

$13,500

DEVELOPMENT OF MONITORING TECHNIQUES TO DETECT CHANGE IN CARBON CYCLING IN RELATION TO THERMOKARST IN NATIONAL PARKS SER

WAGENER K B

CHE

CLEMSON UNIVERSITY U S DEPT OF COMMERCE

$39,021

SURFACE MODIFICATIONS OF CSM FIBERS USING LINEAR AND BRANCHED ADDITIVES

BENNER S A

CHE

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$87,240

NANOSCALE ARRAYS FOR DIRECT RNA PROFILING IN SINGLE CELLS & THEIR COMPARTMENTS

TAN W

CHE

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$136,652

NANOSCALE ARRAYS FOR DIRECT RNA PROFILING IN SINGLE CELLS AND THEIR COMPARTMENTS

HORENSTEIN N A

CHE

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH

$42,676

TARGETING ALPHA7 NACHR FOR THERAPEUTIC EFFETCS

MERZ K M

CHE

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIGMS - GENERAL MEDICAL SCI

$145,828

METTALLOENZYME STRUCTURE/FUNCTION

RICHARDSON D E

CHE

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIGMS - GENERAL MEDICAL SCI

$240,765

THE BIOINORGANIC CHEMISTRY OF NICKEL: THE UREASES

KATRITZKY A R

CHE

U S DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE

$100,000

STRUCTURE ACTIVITY OF KNOWN ARTHROPOD REPELLENTS USING CODESSA

MURPHY C J

FFRI

ALACHUA COUNTY TOURISM

$5,678

20TH AND 21ST CENTURY FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES INTERNATIONAL COLLOQUIUM

MARTIN J B, SCREATON E J

GEOL

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$149,269

INTEGRATED PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL OBSERVATIONS OF WATER-ROCK INTERACTIONS AND COUPLE MATRIX-CONDUIT FLOW IN THE KARSTIC

MUELLER P A

GEOL

U S DEPT OF THE INTERIOR U S GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

$38,725

RELATIONSHIP OF LITHOSPHERIC AGE AND COMPOSITION TO MINERAL RESOURCES WITHIN, BENEATH, AND ADJACENT TO THE BELT BASIN

MARTCHEVA M, GUILLETTE JR L J

MAT

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$131,270

IGMS: HOST IMMUNITY AND THE EVOLUTION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES

MITSELMAKHER G, KORYTOV A

PHY

FERMILAB U S DEPT OF ENERGY

$19,815

ENDCAP MUON SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FOR THE CMS PROJECT FY 2004

MITSELMAKHER G, KORYTOV A

PHY

FERMILAB U S DEPT OF ENERGY

$120,610

ENDCAP MUON SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FOR THE CMS PROJECT FY 2004

MITSELMAKHER G, KORYTOV A

PHY

FERMILAB U S DEPT OF ENERGY

$21,178

ENDCAP MUON SYSTEM BACKPLANE PRODUCTION

AVERY P R

PHY

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIV NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$188,703

AN INTER-REGIONAL CENTER FOR HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS RESERCH ANDEDUCATIONAL OUTREACH AT FLORDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY

TANNER D B

PHY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION U S DEPT OF ENERGY

$62,192

INFRARED STUDIES OF CUPRATE SUPERCONDUCTORS

HEBARD A F

PHY

NORTH CAROLINA A&T UNIVERSITY NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$39,372

SYNTHGESIS AND CHARACTERIZATION OF SELF-ASSEMBLED ORDERED NANO ARRAYS FOR MAGNETIC & SUPERCONDUCTING APPLICATIONS

CHAN H

PHY

U S DEPT OF ENERGY

$151,608

CASIMIR FORCES & NON-CONTACT DISSIPATIVE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN SURFACES IN MICROELECTROMECHANICAL SYSTEMS

HIRSCHFELD P J

PHY

U S DEPT OF ENERGY

$127,567

GRAINS, WIRES AND INTERFACES OF CUPRATE SUPERCONDUCTORS

IWATA B A

PSY

ALACHUA ARC

$361,983

PRADER-WILLI SYDROME PROGRAM

SEVERY L J

PSY

FAMILY HEALTH INTERNATIONAL INTL DEVELOPMENT COOP AGENCY

$255,866

MICROBICIDE ACCEPTABILITY IN PUNE, INDIA

SPECTOR A C, GROBE C L

PSY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH

$28,591

TASTE WORKING MEMORY & DISCRIMINATION: A NEW METHOD

SMITH D W

PSY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIDCD - DEAFNESS & COMM DISORD

$339,490

PSYCHOPHYSICAL STUDIES OF COCHLEAR EFFERENT FUNCTION

SPECTOR A C, DOTSON C D

PSY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIDCD - DEAFNESS & COMM DISORD

$28,583

MINORITY PREDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

PERZ S G

SOC

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$48,684

COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: BRAZIL'S DIRECT ACTION LAND REFORM MOVEMENT: ENVIROMENTAL IMPACTS & SOCIO-SPATIAL DYNAMICS

PERZ S G, SOUTHWORTH J

SOC

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$77,547

AGENTS OF CHANGE: INFRASTRUCTURE CHANGE, HUMAN AGENCY, AND RESILIENCE IN SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS

PERZ S G, SOUTHWORTH J

SOC

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$18,150

AGENTS OF CHANGE: INFRASTRUCTURE CHANGE, HUMAN AGENCY, AND RESILIENCE IN SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS

DANIELS M J

STA

BROWN UNIVERSITY U S DEPT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SER

$95,187

ANALYZING COMPLEX LONGITUDINAL DATA IN BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE

DANIELS M J

STA

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIA - NATL INSTITUTE ON AGING

$22,060

ACE INHIBITION AND PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE IN AGED RATS

BROCKMANN H J, GUNNELS C W

ZOO

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGCY

$12,540

ALTERNATIVE REPRODUCTIVE STRATEGIES AND GROUP DYNAMICS IN A FACULTATIVELY ENSOCIAL PAPER WASP

CHAPMAN C A, POULSEN J R

ZOO

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGCY

$12,312

SYNERGISTIC EFFECTS OF HUNTING AND LOGGING ON ANIMAL ABUNDANCE, SEED DISPERSAL, AND FOREST REGENERATION

LEVEY D J, CLARK C J

ZOO

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGCY

$12,312

EFFECT OF LOGGING ON MECHANISMS THAT LIMIT THE RECRUITMENT OF TROPICAL TREE SPECIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE MAINTENANCE

EVANS D H

ZOO

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$40,598

BIOCHEMICAL, MOLECULAR AND CELLUALR RESPONSES OF ZEBRAFISH EXPOSED TO METALLIC NANOPARTICLES

EVANS D H

ZOO

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$4,000

INSTITUTIONAL ALLOWANCE: GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM ALLOWANCE

HOLT R D

ZOO

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$77,846

COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: COEVOLUTON OF HOSTS AND PARASITOIDSWITHIN A GEOGRAPHIC MOSAIC

GUILLETTE JR L J, BERMUDEZ D S

ZOO

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NICHD - CHLD HLTH & HUMAN DEV

$27,741

MINORITY PREDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

BJORNDAL K A, BOLTEN A B

ZOO

U S DEPT OF COMMERCE NATL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE

$50,190

SEA TURTLE TAG DISTRIBUTION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE COOPERATIVE MARINE TURTLE TAGGING PROGRAM

BJORNDAL K A, BOLTEN A B

ZOO

U S DEPT OF THE INTERIOR FISH & WILDLIFE & PARKS

$10,174

ASSESSMENT OF SE USA NESTING LOGGERHEAD POPULATIONS: IDENTIFICATION OF MGMNT UNITS BASED ON MTDNA SEQUENCE ANALYSES

 

Photos

Jane Dominguez

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