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Measurement of tongue–artificial nipple contact pressure during infant sucking

Authors

  • Takuya Niikawa,

    Member, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Osaka Electro-Communication University, 1130-70 Kiyotaki, Shijo-nawate, Osaka 575-0063, Japan
    • Department of Biomedical Engineering, Osaka Electro-Communication University, 1130-70 Kiyotaki, Shijo-nawate, Osaka 575-0063, Japan
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  • Chika Hagino,

    Non-member
    1. Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, Osaka Electro-Communication University, 1130-70 Kiyotaki, Shijo-nawate, Osaka 575-0063, Japan
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  • Eri Nishi,

    Non-member
    1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Osaka Electro-Communication University, 1130-70 Kiyotaki, Shijo-nawate, Osaka 575-0063, Japan
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  • Ryosuke Kawachi,

    Member
    1. Graduate School of Information Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916-5 Takayama-cho, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan
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  • Kotaro Minato,

    Non-member
    1. Graduate School of Information Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916-5 Takayama-cho, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan
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  • Yoshinobu Takada

    Non-member
    1. Department of Pediatrics, Osaka Koseinenkin Hospital, 4-2-78 Fukushima, Fukushima-ku, Osaka 553-0003, Japan
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Abstract

To clarify the motor function of the infant tongue during sucking, we developed an artificial nipple that contained multiple small built-in force sensors integrated with a PC-based system which is capable of measuring tongue–artificial nipple contact pressures in real time. The force sensor is a cantilever structure with a small, thin stainless steel beam where an all-purpose foil strain gauge is attached to the surface of the beam. An artificial nipple made of an elastomer containing these sensors is connected through an amplifier and an A/D converter to a PC via a USB port. Using this system, measurements were taken in three infants whose oral feeding was well established and in one infant of low birth weight. The results from each force sensor showed a pressure waveform of a nearly simple harmonic motion that indicated a peristalsis-like movement of the tongue; the sucking frequency was found to be about two times per second. In addition, in the low-birth-weight infant, the pressure changed as the infant grew. © 2012 Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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