Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Oct;147(4):678-83. Epub 2012 Jun 7.
Objective This study examined swallowing apnea duration (SAD) and respiratory phase patterns as a function of taste, tastes combined with barium, age, and genetic taste group. Study Design Prospective group design. Setting University medical center. Subjects and Methods Eighty healthy adult women were identified as nontasters and supertasters and equally comprised 2 age groups: 18 to 35 years (n = 40) and 60+ years (n = 40). The KayPentax Swallowing Signals Lab was used to acquire SAD and respiratory phase patterns via nasal cannula during randomized 5-mL swallows of water, 1.0 M sucrose (sweet), 1.0 M sodium chloride (salty), and 0.032 M caffeine (bitter) alone and mixed with barium. The SAD and respiratory patterns were analyzed in a linear mixed model and a binary logistic regression generalized estimating equation model, respectively. Results A significant main effect of age was found (P = .007). Older women demonstrated longer SAD than younger women. There were no significant effects of taste or genetic taste group on SAD. There was a significant interaction between barium and supertaster status; SAD was shorter in supertasters when barium was included. There were no significant differences in respiratory patterns between age groups, genetic taste groups, or among taste stimuli. Conclusion Advanced age elicited longer SAD, a robust finding in repeated investigations from multiple laboratories. Main tastes did not affect SAD or respiratory phase patterns. Genetic taste group altered SAD when barium was combined with the taste. That is, taste + barium shortened SAD in supertasters. This finding may affect clinical management of dysphagia patients and warrants further investigation.