Most persons swallow 600 or more times a day without conscious effort. However, for an estimated 6 million to 10 million Americans, swallowing is a much more difficult, sometimes even impossible, task.
An increasing amount of medical attention is being given to the problem. At a recent symposium on swallowing disorders, for example, specialists from a variety of fields discussed diagnosis and rehabilitation of persons with impaired swallowing ability.
The symposium was held at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, the site of a multidisciplinary swallowing center. (Please see accompanying article.)
The director of that center, Martin W. Donner, MD, chair of the Department of Radiology, says that dysphagia is not a disease in itself. Rather, he says, it is a symptom of a disease that may be affecting any part of the swallowing tract.
And such a disease can have sometimes devastating consequences, from depriving a person of the