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Clinical Trial Summary

Currently, there are no efficacious behavioral treatment approaches to address uncompensated aspiration, or aspiration without appropriate cough response, in Parkinson's disease (PD). This is of particular public health concern given that aspiration pneumonia is the leading cause of death in persons with PD. The overarching aim of the proposed study is to determine the efficacy of two distinct intensive rehabilitation paradigms, expiratory muscle strength training (EMST) and sensorimotor treatment for airway protection (smTAP), on airway protective clinical outcomes in persons with PD and dysphagia. The investigators anticipate the results will lead to reductions in the risks associated with airway protective deficits.

Clinical Trial Description

Study Rationale:

Aspiration pneumonia is a leading cause of death in persons with Parkinson's disease (PD). One of the main reasons people with PD develop aspiration pneumonia is that they often have both swallowing dysfunction (dysphagia) and cough dysfunction (dystussia). Because of this, if food or liquid enters the airway, a cough is not elicited and the material remains in the airway (silent aspiration). It is then possible for the material to enter the lungs resulting in an infection called aspiration pneumonia. Currently, there are no tested treatment approaches that specifically target silent aspiration.


The goal of this study is to determine how well two different rehabilitation treatments, expiratory muscle strength training (EMST) and sensorimotor treatment for airway protection (smTAP), work to improve cough and swallowing function in persons with PD and dysphagia.

Study Design:

This study will include two participant groups; one group will receive EMST and the other will receive smTAP. There will be initial baseline testing of swallowing, coughing, respiratory, and laryngeal function. The investigators will also measure the participants' perception of their cough and swallowing problem. Then, participants will be randomly assigned (much like the flip of a coin) to either the EMST or smTAP training groups. The participants will be further randomized to receive immediate training or delayed training where there is a 5-week wait to start with a second baseline performed at the end of the 5-week delay. Once training is complete the participants will once again complete measures of swallowing, coughing, respiratory and laryngeal function.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's Disease:

The investigators anticipate that this study will assist in better understanding what treatments work best to improve swallowing and cough in people with PD; resulting in an immediate shift in the clinical management of swallowing and cough dysfunction in PD. The investigators also believe that participants will have improvements in swallowing and cough function; therefore, reducing the risk of aspiration pneumonia. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT02927691
Study type Interventional
Source Teachers College, Columbia University
Contact Michelle S Troche, PhD
Phone 212-678-3072
Status Recruiting
Phase Phase 2
Start date September 2016
Completion date June 2019

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