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Research Team

Awards are intended to promote collaboration between Florida Hospital and UCF researchers.  There must be a researcher from each organization involved in the proposed project.  Please identify who the lead investigators from each organization are and upload an NIH biosketch for ONLY the PI and Co-PI (5 page limit per biosketch). A summary of other key personnel may be included in addition to the PI and Co-PI biosketches. (1 page limit for summary of key personnel)

Florida Hospital PI: 
Dr. Nikhil Gadahad Rao
University of Central Florida PI: 
Olesegun J. Ilegbusi
Project Personnel: 
Bari Hoffman Ruddy
Research Key Words:  Airway protection, pulmonary health, head and neck cancer
Research Summary: 
Cough is an airway protective function which serves both preventative and corrective roles in pulmonary health. It is a response to the penetration of unwanted penetrants into the lower airways, producing a shearing force that clears the aspirate from the airway. Failure to protect the lower airways from penetrants exerts catastrophic consequences to health and quality of life. Cough impairment is nearly universal among patients with head and neck cancer (HNC). Such patients are therefore at high risk for aspiration pneumonia. These observations underscore the significance of research directed toward understanding cough flow dynamics. Such studies have the potential to assist the development of treatment methods that improve airway protection for at-risk patients, creating the potential for high clinical impact. This study will develop a biomechanical model to evaluate the efficacy of respiratory muscle strength training intervention to improve deficits of airway protection, in patient status post radiation therapy (RT) for HNC. The expiratory muscle strength training or EMST is recommended for rehabilitation of cough and swallow across many patient groups but has not been trialed in HNC. Biomechanical modeling of ESMT treatment-related changes to upper airway dynamical variables will allow unique objective quantification and evaluation of treatment effects.
Last Modified: 6/30/2016