Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre scientist Willemijn van Bruggen studied chewing problems at two different muscle diseases and found that chewing gum therapy can help patients with Duchenne. This month she was awarded her research.
100 000 Dutch have a muscle disease. It can also be chewing muscles involved. The two most common neuromuscular disease are Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy. Willemijn Bridges investigated the chewing complaints arising from these two diseases and examined whether chewing gum could help.
SMA were the main limitations to the movements of the lower jaw and the bite force. DMD showed the ability to chew the most limited. Often patients change their diet, among others: avoid hard and chewy foods. As a result, the chewing muscles are less loaded, with the result that the muscle strength, accelerated decreases. Bridges therefore recommends keeping active in the masticatory muscles by adjusting the diet to postpone as long as possible.
Bridges then tested in a group of patients with DMD or a month chew gum chewing muscles could train. Van Bruggen: 'The ability to chew improved to at least one month after the training, but we saw no major changes in bite force. In the control group of healthy individuals the right bite force increased and the ability to chew remained virtually unchanged. "Patients with SMA benefit from therapy. "They are best in the early phase of the disease begin to stretch the mouth opening and running sideways and forward movement of the lower jaw," says Van Bruggen.