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Laboratory for the Study of Upper Airway Dysfunction

Active Research Projects

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (IRB #: 17-396)

This study aims to characterize the effects of PSP on communication and airway protective function, as well as the feasibility of behavioral treatment. This study will only require 2 visits to our lab lasting about 1-2 hours each visit, during which we will administer a comprehensive evaluation and try several treatments for speaking and eating.

To participate, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Have diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Be between 55 and 85 years of age
  • Be a fluent speaker of English

Clinical Research Neurorehabilitation Initiative (IRB #: 15-430)

Free clinical research screenings assessing speech, swallowing, cough, cognitive, and linguistic function will be provided to individuals with a history of neurological disease. The clinical screening will take place in our lab for approximately 1 hour.  Following the screening, participants will be offered the opportunity to participate in one of our research protocols or receive expert clinical care.

To participate, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a history of neurological disease (i.e. PD, PSP, CVA, CBS, MSA, etc)
  • Be between 20 and 85 years of age

Airway Protective Rehabilitation Clinical Trial (16-098)

This clinical trial will compare the effects of an established and efficacious rehabilitation paradigm (expiratory muscle strength training (EMST)) with a novel sensorimotor cough therapy (smTAP). EMST has proven to reduce the risk of penetration/aspiration and improve cough effectiveness in PD.  smTAP targets the behavioral up-regulation of reflex cough effectiveness within the context of salient cough-inducing stimuli. This study will require 7 visits to our lab and completion of daily exercises.

To participate, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a diagnosis of PD
  • Be between the ages of 50 and 85 years
  • Not have a history of smoking in the last 5 years
  • Not have a history of respiratory disease (i.e. asthma, COPD)
  • Not be actively receiving swallowing therapy

Skill training for swallowing in ALS and HD (IRB #: 18-009)

In this research study, participants will attend one-on-one swallowing skill training sessions. This is low-risk research; during therapy sessions we will use an adhesive patch which displays the activity of your swallowing muscles on a screen. You will use this to work on your control of swallowing by swallowing at a certain time with a certain amount of force. Therapy will be one hour per day five days per week for two weeks (total of 10 sessions). There will also be four assessment sessions spaced over six weeks.

To participate, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a diagnosis or ALS or HD (no other neurological disease)
  • Have some swallowing changes but still able to eat

SpeechVive (IRB #: 17-096)

The SpeechVive is a small device that fits behind the ear like a hearing aid. The device plays background noise while the participant speaks and capitalizes on the Lombard effect. Use of the device has proven efficacious to significantly improve loudness and rate disturbance in Parkinson’s disease (PD). For this study, we will evaluate the effects SpeechVive therapy delivered via telemedicine.  Participants will present to our research laboratory for baseline and post study visits.  Participants will check-in with clinical research staff weekly for teletherapy.

To participate, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a diagnosis of idiopathic PD (no other neurodegenerative disease)
  • Exhibit problems with speech loudness due to PD
  • Fluent speaker of English
  • No head, neck, or chest surgery (except mastectomy or implant/ablation surgery for PD)
  • No bilateral hearing aid usage

Cough Screening (IRB #: 16-097)

This research protocol evaluates the utility of a hand-held nebulizer for detecting cough and swallowing dysfunction in people with PD. The study will only require 1 visit to our lab.

To participate, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a diagnosis of PD
  • Be between the ages of 50 and 85 years
  • Not have a history of smoking in the last 5 years
  • Not have a history of respiratory disease (i.e. asthma, COPD)