We happen to have a dysphagia (yes, swallowing) guru teaching a class this semester. She is teaching us about instrumental measurements in speech pathology so she brought along an sEMG* machine for us to try. You slap some electrodes on your throat and you can measure the force of contraction** of (some of) the swallowing muscles. It is useful in SLP to teach more effortful swallows for clients to avoid getting nasty lung infections if food and bev goes down the wrong pipe. ShanWow and I were selected as volunteers although you could tell the prof didn’t want to choose me because I strolled in almost an hour late. The lateness wasn’t my fault though, I had to file that dang police report for credit card fraud (which is still ongoing).
Anyway, lateness grudgingly overlooked I went up front to be electrode’d. Apparently I’m jittery and tense (go figure) because you have to get the resting contractions below 10 for 20seconds before you can swallow and it took me forever! Plus mine hovered between 4-9 (ok 4-11) and ShanWow’s rested calmly at 2. Some reinforcing music would play whenever the electrical potential detected was under 10 and would shamefully stop whenever I couldn’t keep it together. Here is a photo recap:
|I’m in the green, ShanWow in the blue. My swallow was more effortful! Ha!|
**ok, it is actually the electrical potential but, you know