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Caregiver’s Guide to Dysphagia in Dementia

Byline: Rinki Varindani Desai is an ASHA-certified medical speech-language pathologist and BIAA-certified brain injury specialist, specializing in the rehabilitation of cognitive-linguistic and swallowing disorders in adults. She is the founder and admin of the Medical SLP Forum, co-author of the mobile app Dysphagia Therapy and co-founder of Dysphagia Grand Rounds. Rinki currently serves on ASHA’s SIG 13 Editorial Committee as Associate Editor of Perspectives, on the Dysphagia Research Society’s Website, Communications, and PublicRelations Committee and has been selected to participate in ASHA’s Leadership Development Program 2017-2018. She has presented at national and international conferences on topics related to adult dysphagia and written numerous articles for leading SLP blogs and magazines. Originally from Mumbai, India; Rinki currently practices in Rochester, New York as Healthpro Rehabilitation’s SLP Team Leader for the Western NY region. You can follow her Medical SLP updates on Facebook and Twitter or reach out to her at rinkislp@gmail.com.


Dementia and Dysphagia

Dementia is not one specific disease. It is a broad term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory, communication, and other thinking skills; severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities (Alzheimer’s Association). continue reading →



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A Walk Through the Fire: A Resource for HNC Patients

The Head and Neck Cancer Living Foundation out of Kansas City put together a 15-minute documentary describing the journeys of six head and neck cancer survivors from diagnosis through the aftermath of the treatments.

The HNC Living Foundation funded this video to help compassionate people understand the devastation and intensity of the process and to draw donations to help those who have no insurance, are under-insured or who’s insurance simply runs out. The costs of living after the treatment can break a person financially and emotionally.

Watch this video: https://vimeo.com/212089320



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Your Cancer Game Plan

Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is sharing his personal experience as part of “Your Cancer Game Plan.” This new awareness campaign focuses on tackling the emotional, nutritional and communication needs of those facing cancer. To help address these challenges the campaign aims to provide support and resources, including Kelly’s video on how to remain positive along with healthy recipes for those with head and neck cancer.  Jim’s hope in sharing his experience is to inspire others to act and know their game plan.

Your Cancer Game Plan is a collaboration between U.S. and International industry and patient advocacy groups. Click here for further information.



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How do you die of Parkinson’s Disease?

The NY Times has a periodic “Ask Well” series that runs a few times monthly and health experts (we assume) answer reader’s questions. The question of how people die from Parkinson’s disease was in today’s newspaper and resonated with me. Years ago, I asked a similar question of my surgeon, but for head and neck cancer. The most common cause of death for someone with Parkinson’s disease is pneumonia. The cause of pneumonia is aspirating foods and liquids into the lungs due to a compromised swallow.

Here’s a link to the story:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/how-do-you-die-of-parkinsons-disease/



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Xerostomia = Dry Mouth

Byline: Jennifer Kurtz is a Speech Language Pathologist and stage IV oral cancer survivor practicing at Overlake Medical Center near Seattle, Washington. Her experience has given her an unexpected, yet unique, perspective on the clinician’s role in the management of the Head & Neck Cancer population and has motivated her to advocate for aggressive, collaborative, multi-disciplinary care of all patients across a broad continuum.


Xerostomia describes the subjective sensation of oral dryness and is commonly called “dry mouth.” The typical causes of dry mouth include medications, radiotherapy to the head and neck for cancer treatment, and systemic diseases.

mouth

Xerostomia can have a profound, negative impact on quality of life. The lack of salivary production impacts the ability to eat, sleep, speak, and swallow (Lew & Smith, 2007). Adequate salivary flow allows us to speak clearly without our lips sticking to our teeth and to mix saliva with food when we chew to enable easy transfer through the oral cavity as we swallow. Inadequate salivary function can create a number of complications such as: continue reading →