Swallowing Lab first of its kind in Canada

Swallowing impairment, or dysphagia, is a major issue for people who have suffered strokes, brain injuries, head and neck cancer, or who are dealing with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or ALS. Presenting a constant risk of pneumonia, malnutrition and dehydration, dysphagia is a growing concern for our aging population.

It is a serious condition – and alarmingly, is thought to be 10 times more common than epilepsy and even more common than diabetes. 

For people with dysphagia, meals must be specially prepared in consistencies such as purees or thickened drinks – or, they need to be fed via a tube placed in their stomach. These interventions impact a person’s ability to participate in regular social activities. One Toronto Rehab patient told us that his feeding tube meant he could no longer attend business lunches or network with colleagues after work at a bar – but worse, his feeding tube meant he would not be able swim at the cottage in the summer due to the need to keep his tube site clean and dry.

Research at Toronto Rehab shows that it is possible to treat dysphagia with exercise-based intervention. The only research lab of its kind in Canada, patients are referred to Toronto Rehab’s Swallowing Rehabilitation Research Lab (SRRL) to undergo assessment of their swallowing for identification, management and treatment of dysphagia – helping them once again enjoy eating and an overall better quality of life.

Bracco Imaging Canada is playing a vital role in helping Toronto Rehab develop and apply new knowledge to create real-life solutions for individuals dealing with dysphagia. Toronto Rehab Foundation is grateful to Bracco for its $30,000 investment in helping teach other clinicians about the revolutionary treatments being developed through Toronto Rehab’s Swallowing Rehabilitation Research Lab – advancing the field of dysphagia rehabilitation.

In photo (left to right): John Seawright, Territory Manager and Patrice Plourde, Director, Sales & Marketing for Bracco Imaging Canada; Arlene Manankil-Boyce, Director of Development, Toronto Rehab Foundation; and Dr. Catriona Steele, Senior Scientist and Director of the Swallowing Rehabilitation Research Lab at Toronto Rehab.

Toronto Rehab is the number one rehabilitation research centre in the world and truly Where Incredible Happens. To ensure that the best proven rehabilitation care, research and technology are available to our patients and the community now and in the future, Toronto Rehab has launched a historic $100-million fundraising campaign. Learn more