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Deglutition (swallowing) in advanced age

27 months
Approved budget:
Dr Marie Jardine
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Māori Health PhD Scholarship
Lay summary
Central to the New Zealand lifestyle is eating and drinking, which carry even deeper significance in Māori culture. Therefore, for people who have difficulties swallowing (dysphagia), there are major cultural, social and emotional implications on top of nutritional consequences: dehydration, malnutrition and weight loss. The severity of dysphagia influences the length of stay in hospital, cost of care and risk of developing pneumonia, which has a high mortality rate. For older adults, ageing is associated with increased diagnoses, comorbidities and medications, all of which may contribute to swallowing impairment. My study focuses on swallowing in advanced age (80+ years old), in order to enhance overall clinical management for the ageing population. Research methods include instrumental assessment of healthy and disordered swallowing through swallowing x-ray (videofluoroscopy) and pressure sensors (a novel assessment tool for the throat: high-resolution manometry), as well as New Zealand’s first dysphagia epidemiological study in adults.