WARF: P99296US

Standardized Compositions That Facilitate Swallowing in Dysphagic Patients


JoAnne Robbins

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a standardized set of solutions for diagnosing dysphagia.
OVERVIEWSeveral medical conditions, including stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, can result in abnormal swallowing, or dysphagia. Recent evidence indicates the aging process also leads to changes in swallowing that put even healthy older people at risk for this disorder. Thus, the prevalence of dysphagia is expected to increase dramatically as the American population ages.

Current methods for diagnosing dysphagia lack standardization, and don’t determine if a patient is aspirating food into the lungs or where in the swallow cycle the defects occur. Most importantly, the physical properties of conventional fluid materials used to diagnose dysphagia don’t match those of the fluids used to treat the disorder after diagnosis.
THE INVENTIONA Wisconsin researcher has developed a viscosity-standardized set of solutions that can be used for diagnosing dysphagia. The set includes “thin,” “nectar thick,” and “honey thick” compositions, all with known viscosities and appealing tastes. To diagnose dysphagia, patients swallow each of the solutions in turn, and their ability to swallow is evaluated either by physical examination, radiography or other means. Ultimately, the recommended dietary fluid intake is matched to the diagnostic material the patient swallowed most easily.
  • Diagnosis of dysphagia
  • Permits standardization between diagnosis and treatment of dysphagia
  • Results from different patients can be compared directly, without variation in viscosity, taste or adherence properties of diagnostic solutions
  • Using three standard solutions allows the results of three distinct swallowing studies to be compared and contrasted.
  • More food-like and more palatable than conventional diagnostic solutions
  • Compositions deposit sufficient imaging material on mucous membranes to generate good radiographic images, but not so much that swallowing dynamics are changed.
  • Allows for improved radiographic imaging, making it possible to visualize the entire swallow cycle and to determine if a patient is aspirating or having difficulty clearing food material
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
The WARF Advantage

Since its founding in 1925 as the patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF has been working with business and industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.