Relationship between swallowing muscles and trunk muscle mass in healthy elderly individuals: A cross-sectional study

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2018 Nov-Dec;79:21-26. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2018.07.018. Epub 2018 Jul 29.


Background and objective: A decrease of swallowing muscle strength causes dysphagia, and a relationship between swallowing muscle strength and appendicular muscle mass has been reported. Moreover, the effect of trunk retention function on swallowing function has been clinically recognized. However, the relationship between trunk muscle mass and swallowing muscle strength is unclear. We aimed to clarify the association between these variables in elderly individuals.

Methods: Subjects were 118 healthy community-dwelling individuals aged ≥65 years (men: 37, women: 81). We measured total muscle mass, grip strength, jaw-opening force, tongue pressure, cross-sectional area (CSA) of the geniohyoid muscle, and tongue muscle thickness. The appendicular skeletal muscle mass index (ASMI) and trunk muscle mass index (TMI) were calculated based on the appendicular skeletal muscle mass and trunk muscle mass, and corrected by height squared. Multiple regression analysis was performed with jaw-opening force and tongue pressure as dependent variables and with age, sex, grip strength, ASMI, TMI, CSA of the geniohyoid muscle, and tongue muscle thickness as independent variables.

Results: Significant explanatory factors for jaw-opening force were sex (p = 0.002) and TMI (p = 0.003). Significant explanatory factors for tongue pressure were aging (p = 0.001), tongue muscle thickness (p = 0.027), and TMI (p = 0.033).

Conclusions: Until now, the relationship between swallowing muscles and whole body muscle mass has been reported using ASMI as the indicator of whole body muscle mass. This study suggests that TMI may be used as a highly relevant indicator of swallowing muscles rather than ASMI.

Keywords: Elderly; Survey; Swallowing muscles; Trunk muscle mass index.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Health Services for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Thorax / physiology*
  • Tongue / physiology*