Electrical Stimulation and Neuroprostheses for Restoring Swallowing Function A neuroprosthesis is an electrical stimulator device that provides short bursts of electrical impulses to the nervous system to produce sensory and/or motor functions. Over the past four decades, neuroprostheses for a wide variety of applications have been developed. Some have achieved great success, such as cochlear implants for ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2004
Electrical Stimulation and Neuroprostheses for Restoring Swallowing Function
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • T. Adam Thrasher
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Milos R. Popovic
    University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   June 01, 2004
Electrical Stimulation and Neuroprostheses for Restoring Swallowing Function
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), June 2004, Vol. 13, 28-31. doi:10.1044/sasd13.2.28
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), June 2004, Vol. 13, 28-31. doi:10.1044/sasd13.2.28
A neuroprosthesis is an electrical stimulator device that provides short bursts of electrical impulses to the nervous system to produce sensory and/or motor functions. Over the past four decades, neuroprostheses for a wide variety of applications have been developed. Some have achieved great success, such as cochlear implants for the hearing impaired (Lenarz, 1998; Gstoettner, Adunka, Hamzavi, & Baumgartner, 2000; Higgins, Chen, Nedzelski, Ship, & McIlmoyl, 2002) and bladder management stimulators (Rijkhoff, Wijkstra, van Kerrebroeck, & Debruyne, 1997; Schurch, Rodic, & Jeanmonod, 1997), which are produced in large volume worldwide. Other neuroprostheses, such as those for upper limb function (Smith, Peckham, Keith, & Roscoe, 1987; Ijzerman et al., 1996; Adams, Takes, Popovic, Bulsen, & Zivanovic, 2003) and lower limb function (Graupe, Davis, Kordylewski, & Kohn, 1998; Taylor et al., 1999), have not yet matured to a level that creates a significant consumer demand. In the field of dysphagia rehabilitation, neuroprostheses have had very little impact to date. Attempts to develop electrical stimulation devices for assisted swallowing have been few, however, researchers have begun building a foundation for future developments. In this article, we discuss neuroprosthesis technology in general terms, and then we discuss the research that has been carried out on electrical stimulation for assisted swallowing, focusing on the potential role of neuroprostheses in the treatment of chronic dysphagia.
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