Respiration and Swallowing in Healthy Adults and Infants Health and longevity are contingent on many factors, including steady oxygenation at the cellular level and maintenance of nutrition and hydration. Humans, while sharing these essentials with other animals, embrace what makes them different: the ability to communicate with speech. Increased diversity of the sounds produced is congruent with ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2003
Respiration and Swallowing in Healthy Adults and Infants
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julia D. Edgar
    Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  • Julia Edgar is assistant professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at Arizona State University in Tempe. Julia.edgar@asu.edu
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   October 01, 2003
Respiration and Swallowing in Healthy Adults and Infants
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 2003, Vol. 12, 2-6. doi:10.1044/sasd12.3.2
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 2003, Vol. 12, 2-6. doi:10.1044/sasd12.3.2
Health and longevity are contingent on many factors, including steady oxygenation at the cellular level and maintenance of nutrition and hydration. Humans, while sharing these essentials with other animals, embrace what makes them different: the ability to communicate with speech. Increased diversity of the sounds produced is congruent with physical changes associated with maturation. At birth the larynx rides high in the pharynx, similar to other mammals (Laitman & Reidenberg, 1993; Kobara-Mates, Logemann, Larson, & Kahrilas, 1995), and as the infant develops laryngeal descent creates a larger pharyngeal space. A comparable change occurs in the oral cavity as the mandible grows, increasing the size of the oral cavity and the ratio of space occupied by the tongue. And thus, the human adult, endowed with supraglottic resonating chambers as the foundation for varied vowel production and an oral cavity sufficiently large to allow tongue gestures for fine-tuned-articulatory gestures, is at greater risk for aspiration than its mammalian counterparts. Enlargement of the shared pathway makes integrity of the reciprocal actions of respiration and deglutition even more critical to maintain. The following selected review of the literature outlines how respiration and deglutition function together in healthy adults and infants.
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