2018 Activity Report vol.36:Niigata University

Activity Report of Open Application Course vol.36

Dental and Orofacial Advanced Research Required in a Super-Aged Society
-Now and Future-

Report from Makoto Inoue
Dysphagia Rehabilitation Studies
Graduate School of Medical and Dental Studies, Niigata University

We invited young clinicians and researchers to visit Niigata Univ. for a program held from February 12 to 21, 2019. Invitees consisted of three participants from National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan and four participants from Thammasat University in Thailand (invitees also included two senior members and one research who had already been to Japan). The program provided the opportunity to observe and experience various types of research which are currently being conducted at Niigata Univ.

Commemorative photograph at WetLab Corporation

February 13: The theme for this day was clinical treatment for dysphagia disorders. Invitees discussed the current conditions and general clinical content for dysphagia disorders mainly among elderly patients in a super-aging society. They also discussed the form of clinical treatment based on oral functions, an area in which involvement from dental care is required. After these discussions, the invitees divided into two groups to experience video-fluoroscopic examination and video-endoscopic examination.

Experiencing video-endoscopic examination

February 14: The theme for this day was practical exercises for understanding mastication. Invitees conducted practical exercises to experience mastication efficiency measurement conducted in Japan as part of health examinations, a world-leading initiative. They experienced a simulation on poor bolus formation in dysphagia patients and the load on swallowing.

February 15: Based on the theme of human experiments, in regards to neuromuscular mechanisms related to mastication and swallowing functions, invitees experienced physiological experiments using electromyograms and video-fluoroscopic examination. Participants kept simultaneous records of electromyograms and video-fluoroscopic for masseter muscles and suprahyoid muscles when chewing and swallowing food. They also experienced techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Invitees listen to a lecture

February 18: After a weekend off, the program started again on Monday. Invitees received explanations on swallowing induction and identification methods in animal experiments. They also observed swallowing induction experiments using mechanical, chemical, and electrical stimulation on peripheral muscles. They also toured an eating support station with facilities for taste-testing of nursing care food served at hospitals, testing of nurse care food utensils, and usage experiments for oral care instruments. All of the invitees showed great interest during the tour.

Touring an eating support station

February 19: After briefly studying the special characteristics of tissue engineering in the oral region, invitees attended a lecture on the basics of methods for creating and transplanting cultured oral mucosa. In the cell culturing laboratory, invitees observed how oral mucosal tissue collected from patients is used in the routine work of incubating cultures for oral mucosal epithelial cells in patients.

February 20: In regards to the basic and clinical aspects of oral function, invitees attended a lecture and participated in practical exercises on the themes of periodontal diseases and pain. After performing hands-on measurement of the oral bacterial count in participants, invitees experienced a behavioral experiment using animal models of pain, and an electrophysiological experiment for observing and quantifying action potential in the brain in conjunction with pain stimuli.

Observing an animal behavior experiment

February 21: In the morning, invitees attended a lecture on dry mouth. During practical exercises, they experienced Oriental medicine, trial use of moisturizer, and methods for saliva gland massage used in the treatment of dry mouth. Afterwards, a completion ceremony was held and a commemorative photograph was taken before everyone said farewell. Despite the tight schedule, invitees thoroughly enjoyed experiencing new clinic treatments and research fields. Furthermore, thanks to the active participation from invitees, they were able to spend fulfilling days even while being extremely busy. I firmly believe that the program will serve as a foothold for promoting future exchange and joint research.

In closing, I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to the Sakura Science Exchange Program for providing the opportunity to hold this program, and to the countless staff members who supported the implementation of the program.