Swallowing and Voice Lab


Phyllis Palmer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Phyllis Palmer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


  • Aaron Padilla
  • Nevin Thul
  • Taylour Wall

Topics Studied

Our lab conducts research investigating the essential characteristics of oral, pharyngeal and laryngeal  motor function as they relates to swallow function across the lifespan in healthy individuals and individuals with various disorders. We are also engaged in treatment efficacy studies. Our studies focus on the following research questions:

  • How does oral motor strength and endurance change throughout the lifetime in healthy individuals?
  • Do changes in oral motor strength and endurance result in changes in swallow performance?
  • What is the impact of OPMD, a rare disease with a high incidence in New Mexico, on oral, pharyngeal and laryngeal function as it relates to speech, voice and swallowing?
  • Can we find ways to successfully slow or halt the effects of OPMD on oral, pharyngeal and laryngeal function?

Current Projects

  • Is stability a good measure of oral motor function and is it more sensitive to age and/or disease than our current measures?
  • What is the efficacy of standard swallow treatments in patients with OPMD?
  • Can Pharyngeal Constriction serve as an estimate of pharyngeal strength?
  • What is the effect of OPMD on laryngeal movement and voice? 
  • What is the time course of swallowing, voice and speech deficits in patients with OPMD?
  • What is the efficacy of botox as a treatment of UES dysfunction in patients with OPMD?

Selected Publications

Sprouls, G., Palmer, P.M. & Luschei, E.S. (in press).  Effortful swallow in OPMD. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology.

Neel, AT & Palmer, PM (2012). Is tongue strength an important influence on rate of articulation in diadochokinetic and reading tasks? Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 55(1)

Palmer, P.M., Neel, A.T., Sprouls, G., & Morrison, L. (2010) Swallow characteristics in patients with oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 53, 1567-1578.

Palmer, P.M., Jaffe, D.M., McCulloch, T.M., Finnegan, E.M., Van Daele, D.J. & Luschei, E.S. (2008). Quantitative contributions of the muscles of the tongue, floor of mouth, jaw and velum to intraoral pressure generation. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 51(4): 828-35.

Neel, A.T., Palmer, P.M., & Gass, C.A. (2008). Can IOPI be used to measure tongue pressure for speech sounds? Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 16(4), 235-241.

Neel, A.T., Palmer, P.M., Sprouls, G., & Morrison, L. (2006). Tongue Strength and Speech Intelligibility in Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 14(4), 273-277.

Palmer, P.M., McCulloch, T.M., Jaffe, D. & Neel, A.T. (2005). Effects of a sour bolus on the intramuscular electromyographic activity of muscles in the submental region. Dysphagia, 20(3), 210-217.

Van Daele, D.J., McCulloch, T.M., Palmer, P.M. & Langmore, S.E. (2005). Timing of glottic closure during swallowing: A combined electromyographic and endoscopic analysis. Annals of OtolRhinolLaryngol, 114(6), 478-87.

Palmer, P.M., Luschei, E.S., Jaffe, D. & McCulloch, T.M. (1999). Contributions of individual muscles to submental surface EMG during swallowing. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 42(6), 1378-91.

Perlman, A.L., Palmer, P.M., McCulloch, T.M. &  VanDaele, D.J. (1999). Electromyographic activity from human laryngeal, pharyngeal, and submental muscles during swallowing. Journal of Applied Physiology, 86(5), 1663-9.

Verdolini, K., Druker, D.G., Palmer, P.M. & Samawi, H. (1998). Laryngeal adduction in resonant voice. Journal of Voice: 12(3), 315-327.

Verdolini, K. & Palmer, P.M. (1997). Assessment of a “Profiles” approach to voice screening. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology , 5(4), 217-232.