(HealthDay News) — Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) does not add benefit to traditional swallow exercises for patients experiencing dysphagia after treatment for head and neck cancer, according to a study published online Oct. 15 in Head & Neck.

Susan E. Langmore, Ph.D., from Boston University, and colleagues randomized 170 patients with head and neck cancer experiencing post-treatment dysphagia to a 12-week program of either active NMES plus swallow exercise or sham NMES plus swallow exercise.

The researchers found that the active NMES group had significantly worse Penetration Aspiration Scale scores than the sham group, although both groups reported significantly better diet and quality of life.

“For patients with head and neck cancer with moderate to severe dysphagia caused by radiation therapy, current behavioral therapies are of limited help in reversing long-term dysphagia,” the authors write.

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