Dysphagia (swallowing impairment) is present in 98% of individuals with Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) and is characterized by lingual and pharyngeal dysfunction (manifesting in impaired bolus preparation and transfer, and post-swallow residue in the mouth and pharynx), delayed swallow initiation, and entry of material into the airway (penetration/aspiration). Dysphagia severity correlates with disease severity and duration however no longitudinal studies describe changes in function in FRDA. The aim of this study was to investigate the progression of dysphagia in FRDA over one year. Fifty-nine individuals with FRDA and confirmed dysphagia were recruited and 23 of them underwent a second assessment 12 months later. Assessments of swallowing related quality of life, oral motor function (Frenchay Dysarthria Assessment 2nd Ed [FDA-2]) and functional swallowing via videofluoroscopy were conducted.
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