Pulia Lab

The Swallowing & Salivary Bioscience Lab is a translational research program focused on dysphagia, or swallowing dysfunction, in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of our work is to systematically identify and characterize factors underlying dysphagia in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and then to translate these findings into novel, evidence-based treatments for maintenance of quality of life and prevention of pneumonia onset. Specific research interests include the effects of intensive dysphagia rehabilitation, including tongue strengthening, on swallow function and health status; the feasibility of exercise-based approaches to dysphagia treatment for patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease; and the impact of oral microbial profiles and saliva production on oral health and pneumonia risk in patients with dysphagia.

Research Goal & Focus Areas:

To improve identification of dysphagia in older adults and to develop novel evidence-based interventions for prevention of adverse health outcomes by:

  • Improving and validating tools for identification and diagnosis of dysphagia in older adults
  • Identifying biomarkers that predict aspiration and pneumonia development in older adults with dysphagia
  • Determining the efficacy of novel dysphagia interventions in a variety of patient groups, including those with Alzheimer’s disease