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Physiological Basis of Swallowing

Human swallowing is a complex phenomenon that is essential to human existence on many levels. The pathway for human swallowing begins in the mouth and ends in the stomach. Between these two levels, a highly complex interaction occurs between sensory and motor function to accommodate ingesting a variety of foods and liquids. As swallowing is due to the complex and coordinated effort, it is susceptible to impairment from a multitude of diseases and health status changes. Any disruption or impairment in the swallowing process may be defined as dysphagia. Dysphagia contributes to a variety of negative health status changes, most notably, increased risk of malnutrition and pneumonia. At its extreme severity, dysphagia can contribute to declining health status and even mortality. However, impairments in human ...

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