Swallowing Lab bridges gap in interdisciplinary research

golden-gate-bridge-1082210In recent months, the Swallowing Lab team has been busy building bridges to sustain and promote dysphagia research and patient care throughout the continent.  To that end, the lab eagerly accepted the opportunity to present its work at the ninth international conference of the American Head and Neck Society (ANHS).  Held over five days in mid-July, the annual conference was designed to enable multidisciplinary collaborations amongst member clinicians in the pursuit of new mechanisms for head and neck cancer identification, treatments, and measurement of outcomes and quality of care.

Dr. Rosemary Martino was invited to both moderate and present in the members’ education series on the innovative research of the Swallowing Lab.  Spanning clinical Speech Language Pathology care and head and neck cancer treatment, Dr. Martino’s session brought the audience of Head and Neck clinicians and researchers up to date on promising new dysphagia interventions targeting patient swallowing related issues.  Dr. Martino also discussed some of the lab’s most recent work which examined the relationship between measures of objective swallowing physiology and observer-rated toxicities, function and Quality of Life (QoL).  The findings show that patient reported outcomes alone are not sufficiently accurate in detecting changes in swallow physiology.  The study provided clear support for the idea that accurate and comprehensive assessments also require objective clinical testing completed by a skilled clinician. The lab envisions this fresh research will further contribute to the field by facilitating better understanding of patient perception of the severity of their issues in relation to clinical evaluations.

As the single largest organization in North America for the advancement of research and education in head and neck oncology, Dr. Martino was pleased to be able to present at the AHNS’s 2016 conference, and looks forward to future opportunities to share the Swallowing Lab’s trailblazing research.