Researcher Hopes to Help People With Dysphagia

Apr 02, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers from the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders and Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation (BIR) are working together to investigate the effects of drinking water on patients with dysphagia, a disorder that affects a person’s ability to swallow.

Their study will document the benefits and problems of the “free water protocol,” which lets patients have water and ice instead of restricting them to liquids that have been artificially thickened.

“Currently, some medical practitioners discourage patients with dysphagia from drinking water due to concerns that of the water into the lungs may result in pneumonia,” said Helen Kenedi, MS, principal investigator of the study and clinical lecturer in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. “Patients who are denied access to water often report that they are thirsty, are dehydrated and have a decreased quality of life.”

Based on the patient reports, Kathy Panther, speech-language pathologist and rehabilitation director for the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute in Louisville, Ky., developed a protocol that allows patients access to uncontaminated ice and water before and after meals. In theory, the properties of uncontaminated water will not be harmful to the lungs, so aspirating the water will be a benign event.

Although Panther reported improved quality of life among patients following the free water protocol, Kenedi’s study is the first of its kind to objectively document other potential good and bad effects.

“Given our aging population, dysphagia is likely to become more prevalent as people suffer from strokes, or dementia” said Kenedi. “Documentation of the effects of the free water protocol will contribute to better management of individuals with swallowing disorders.”

Other researchers involved in the study include Dr. Christine Dollaghan, professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences; Tricia Olea Santos, MS, doctoral student in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences; and Jacqueline Daniels, MS, speech-language pathologist from BIR.

The researchers will study patients who receive the free water protocol as part of their routine clinical care at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation.

“We hope the results of the study will help to clarify the possible benefits of the free water protocol and the kinds of patients with whom it can be implemented,” said Kenedi.

Explore further: New compounds protect nervous system from the structural damage of MS

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Unlocking the brain after stroke

Sep 23, 2008

University of Queensland research is set to unlock the regions of the brain central to successful language treatment following a stroke.

Recommended for you

Mystery of the reverse-wired eyeball solved

Feb 27, 2015

From a practical standpoint, the wiring of the human eye - a product of our evolutionary baggage - doesn't make a lot of sense. In vertebrates, photoreceptors are located behind the neurons in the back of the eye - resulting ...

Neurons controlling appetite made from skin cells

Feb 27, 2015

Researchers have for the first time successfully converted adult human skin cells into neurons of the type that regulate appetite, providing a patient-specific model for studying the neurophysiology of weight ...

Quality control for adult stem cell treatment

Feb 27, 2015

A team of European researchers has devised a strategy to ensure that adult epidermal stem cells are safe before they are used as treatments for patients. The approach involves a clonal strategy where stem cells are collected ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Supermegadope
not rated yet Apr 02, 2010
This may be the funniest paragraph I have ever read here.

“Currently, some medical practitioners discourage patients with dysphagia from drinking water due to concerns that aspiration of the water into the lungs may result in pneumonia,” said Helen Kenedi, MS, principal investigator of the study and clinical lecturer in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. “Patients who are denied access to water often report that they are thirsty, are dehydrated and have a decreased quality of life.”

Let me get this straight, people without water are complaining of thirst and dehydration? SCIENCE!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.