Elizabeth Cuadrado and her team will be partnering with bioengineers to refine and test an alternative to an existing high-cost product to boost tongue strength, which is integral in our ability to swallow. The team at UCD has already prototyped the Colorado Oral Strengthening Device, which is made from silicone and used by compressing it between the tongue and roof of the mouth. This device could be made with multiple levels of resistance akin to exercise bands.
Now this team seeks to refine the device to elicit the same improvements seen with the current high-cost device that requires the user to hook up to a sensor and can be quite complicated. The Colorado Oral Strengthening Device has the potential to improve access to an impactful device and help people living with Parkinson’s sustain their ability to swallow for eating and drinking.