Medical Breakthrough-Swallowing - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/19/05

Medical Breakthrough-Swallowing

About 15 million Americans are living with some degree of dysphagia, which is a condition that makes swallowing difficult, sometimes almost impossible.

One device that may give some people the stimulation they need to get the throat back into working condition is called a Vitalstim. It is FDA approved therapy, which sends small electrical currents into the neck.

"It helps those muscles to move stronger and faster," says Pamela Clarke-Levens a Speech Pathologist.

The device isn't new, but a lot of people may not know this is available. It can help patients with all types of swallowing problems from Rett Syndrome, Parkinson's Disease, Cerebral Palsy, or even stroke and cancer patients. The current helps activate the muscles responsible for swallowing. At the same time, trained therapists help patients "re-educate" the muscles, so that over time, the swallowing muscles can re-learn how to get food down into the stomach safely.

Ask your doctor if you'd like to know more about the Vitalstim.

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