Device May Lower Risk of Pneumonia

GAINESVILLE – University of Florida researchers think they’ve found a way to help Parkinson’s disease patients who have trouble swallowing. Patients, who used a certain type of hand-held device to strengthen the muscles used in swallowing, lowered their risk of pneumonia, a common cause of death for those with Parkinson’s.

The device is shaped like a large white tube – patients blow into it to exercise their throat muscles. UF researchers found a third of volunteers in the study improved their ability to swallow, if they used the device for 20 minutes a day for a month.

UF lead researcher Michelle Troche : [audio:|titles=Troche]

Troche is also looking at the device’s effects on multiple sclerosis patients. She says more study is needed before this therapy becomes widely practiced.

The findings appeared in the Nov. 23 issue of the journal Neurology. [ | FPR Spot]