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Jaw, Tongue And Hyoid Movement — A Question Of Synchrony? Discussion Paper

A. Thexton
Published 1984 · Medicine

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Studies of human oral function have generally concentrated upon the movements (or the muscle activity producing the movements) of the jaw in &hewing or alternatively of the tongue in swallowing. This concentration upon movements of different structurd§ i different activities has meant that some important aspects of human feeding have nidt received appropriate attention. First, it is obvious that feeding can proceed without chewitig atd al§o clear that the tongue transports food through the mouth in the cycles of' moveffetit ptior to swallowing. Secondly, since the different oral behaviours of feeding are the result of Chatges in the interrelated movements of the jaw, hyoid, tongue, etc., the differences in behavidur Ate not easily understood simply by investigating the movements of individtial anatthmical structures in isolation. The result is that even the basic interrelationships between the movements of the oral structures during feeding in man are poorly understood, despite the pioneering radiological studies of Ardran and colleagues (Ardran & kemlp 1960, 1970, 1975, Ardran et al. 1958a,b). An additional reason for the paucity of hard infdrlnatioti i§ that currently the only available technique for simultaneously recording jaw, tongue and food movement intraorally is cineradiography; studies on healthy human volunteers, as distitict from diagnostically related investigations, have therefore had distinct ethical limitations. There is consequently an obligation to use animal models to obtain the basic understanding of the mechanisms of oral function before detailed studies in mani can be embarked upon. Although a considerable amount of background work on oral functiont hag already been carried out on a variety of animals, most studies have still concentrated upon quite limited aspects of oral activity, although to a lesser extent than human studies. The animal studies have been diverse, using for example, the mudskipper (Sponder & Lauder 1981), the salamander (Thexton et al. 1977), the lizard (Throckmorton 1980, Smith 1982, 1984), the bat (Kallen & Gans 1972), the opossum (Crompton et al. 1977), the rat (Hiiemae & Ardran 1968, Weijs & Dantuma 1975), the rabbit (Ardran et al. 1958b, Weijs & Dantuma 1981), the pig (Herring & Scapino 1973, Herring 1976), the cat (Hiiemae et al. 1978, 1981, Thexton 1981, Thexton et al. 1980, 1982) and the monkey (Luschei & Goodwin 1974, Byrd et al. 1978, Franks et al. 1981). Although the details of the oral mtisculoskeletal system may vary considerably between the animals studied and may also differ from niafi, the essential functional mechanisms remain the same. Consequently, many of the movefients ate also broadly similar in nature. Two basic questions that can be answered from afiimal studies and which will be reviewed in this paper are: (1) In what way do the different anatomiical structures act together in the rhythmic movements of feeding? (2) Is there such a thing as a 'basic' pattern of neuromuscular coordination underlying the apparently different oral behaviours involved in dealing with liquid and solid foods? Over the last ten years, in collaboration with investigators at the universities of-Illinois and Harvard (see Acknowledgments), several studies of the overall pattern of oral behaviour have been initiated using different animal models. However, only the study of the cat is near completion. The cat has particular advantages as an experimental model since its jaw has a
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