Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Communicative Disorders

Degree Program

Communicative Disorders, MS

Committee Chair

King, Suzanne

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Pitts, Teresa

Committee Member

Pitts, Teresa

Committee Member

Smith, Alan

Committee Member

Mattingly, Rhonda

Author's Keywords

fibrosis; mylohyoid; cryoinjury; head and neck cancer; licking


Muscle injury is a common side effect of radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. To increase understanding of muscle injury related dysfunction, we investigated the effects of oral swallowing function after cryoinjury to mylohyoid muscle in rats. The hypothesis is that injury to the mylohyoid delays the temporal licking pattern, resulting in aberrant drinking behaviors. Six rats received bilateral mylohyoid injuries by applying a 3mm cryoprobe. Licking behavior was measured by electrophysiological recordings of rhythmic tongue movements in a ten-minute drinking session taken pre-and post-injury (one-and two-weeks). Lick frequency and total licks per cluster decreased significantly one-and two-weeks post-injury compared to pre-injury (both p< 0.03). Cluster size also significantly reduced (p< 0.05) and the number of clusters performed increased post-injury (p= 0.002). Results demonstrate that injury to the mylohyoid muscle leads to aperiodicity of licking behaviors likely attributed to delays in tongue motility.