Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders


Erin Kamarunas

Teresa Drulia

Erin S. Clinard


This work is composed of a literature review, research review, and self-reflective essay. The anatomy and physiology of normal swallowing and respiration are reviewed. Additionally, the effect of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on these processes is discussed. The research goal was to determine how lung volume changes adapt the physiology of swallowing in individuals with COPD. The research project was designed and conducted by Teresa Drulia, M.S., CCC-SLP. COPD participants (n=9, mean age=72, 6 male) were compared to older healthy individuals (n=10, mean age= 59, 3 male). Participants completed swallows of 20cc of water at four lung volume conditions: non-cued, resting expiratory level, tidal volume, and total lung capacity while respiration and pharyngeal pressures were recorded. The results indicated that COPD participants swallow at a lower lung volume than older healthy individuals. A significant inverse relationship was found between estimated lung volume at the time of the swallow and pharyngeal duration in individuals with COPD that was not present in the older healthy. Pharyngeal swallow duration was longer in COPD, although not statistically significant, and normalized to approximate that of healthy individuals only when they inspired to a larger lung volume. COPD participants followed a swallow with inspiration significantly less at higher lung volumes. The final section of this work is a reflection on the experience of being a research assistant and writing an undergraduate thesis.



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