Health Technology Update: MOST (Madison Oral Strengthening Therapeutic)
Written by: Aimee Zellers
Swallow, go ahead and try it. It’s probably easy for you, and most people do it every day without even thinking. However, this isn’t the case for many; there are a multitude of conditions that can make it very difficult or impossible to swallow including dysphagia, cancers in the throat and mouth, esophagus disorders and many more. It takes approximately 40 pairs of mouth and throat muscles and a host of nerves to produce the coordination to physically swallow. Now, imagine if you couldn’t swallow; you couldn’t eat, drink, swallow your saliva… this would really put a damper on your quality of life. For example, if an individual has trouble swallowing it can cause them to choke or cough while eating, drool, cause malnutrition and dehydration as well as unintended weight loss. For those who cannot swallow, the alternative is often forms of artificial hydration and nutrition. It was this realization that compelled a company to develop ways to strengthen muscles used for swallowing as opposed to relying on traditional treatments such as inserting feeding tubes.
Dr. JoAnne Robbins, a professor of gastroenterology and gerontology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, is the founder of and has provided the research base for the start-up company Swallow Solutions. The aim of this Wisconsin based company is to help individuals who have trouble swallowing learn how to swallow more effectively and strengthen the muscles used in swallowing. The FDA approved Swallow Solutions’ first medical device, called the Madison Oral Strengthening Therapeutic, or MOST for short. MOST is a device that evaluates the strength of the mouth and swallowing muscles and also strengthens the muscles involved in swallowing. The device is connected to a computer which monitors and controls the device and generates reports. This device can be used not only to treat swallowing issues; it can also be used to screen and identify those at risk for developing dysphagia. MOST is currently being used in a multi-site, randomized clinical trial. The FDA has cleared if for sale in the US as a Class 1 device. According to Swallow Solutions, the MOST device can help as many as 15 million adults and several million infants. MOST is available now. Devices likes this are important because they address the root of the problem. When patients have difficulty swallowing a feeding tube is often inserted which bypasses the problem altogether, rather than addressing the problem directly.
Swallow Solutions is preparing to release a second device this fall called Madison Oralever Resistance Exercise or MORE for short. Not much information has been released regarding this new device. However, Swallow Solutions is committed to offering physicians a suite of devices to address issues in swallowing.
Check out MOST here: