AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE POTENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF CARBONATED THIN-LIQUIDS AS AN ALTERNATIVE DYSPHAGIA INTERVENTION FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
BACKGROUND Dysphagia is common in individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease (Suh et al. 2009, Seçil et al. 2016). Dysphagia in this clinical population can result in dehydration, malnutrition, urinary tract infections, and aspiration pneumonia. Diet modification is currently the cornerstone intervention used in this population, however its efficacy is contested in the literature. Recent evidence suggests that carbonated beverages may have the potential to modulate safer swallows by heightening oral-sensory input and triggering the pharyngeal swallow more rapidly. To date no studies have examined whether carbonated liquids may improve the overall swallow safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and dysphagia. RESEARCH QUESTIONS This research proposal sets out a prospective study investigating whether carbonated thinliquids shorten prolonged oral-transit time and delayed pharyngeal swallow initiation in the swallows of individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and dysphagia, thereby reducing incidences of laryngeal penetration/aspiration. PROPOSED STUDY Research questions will be addressed by evaluating the swallows of individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and dysphagia using videofluoroscopic swallow studies and palatability rating scales (Jones et al. 1955). Participants will be provided with 5ml trials of water, carbonated liquids, and thickened liquids on teaspoons under experimental settings. Three outcome measures (oral-transit time, PENASP scores, and palatability ratings) will be triangulated to evaluate whether carbonated liquids influence the swallow safety for this clinical population. DISCUSSION The dysphagia caused by Alzheimer’s Disease is predominantly associated with diseaserelated sensory system decrements. This study hypothesizes that prolonged oral-stage transit time, delayed pharyngeal swallow triggers, and penetration/aspiration rates can be minimized by providing individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease with heightened oral-sensory stimulation through carbonated liquids. By doing so, carbonated liquids have the potential to become a future intervention for this population.