Barium versus nonbarium stimuli: Differences in taste intensity, chemesthesis, and swallowing behavior in healthy adult women

Ahmed Nagy, Catriona M. Steele, Cathy A. Pelletier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The authors examined the impact of barium on the perceived taste intensity of 7 different liquid tastant stimuli and the modulatory effect that these differences in perceived taste intensity have on swallowing behaviors. Method: Participants were 80 healthy women, stratified by age group (<40; >60) and genetic taste status (supertasters; nontasters). Perceived taste intensity and chemesthetic properties (fizziness; burning-stinging) were rated for 7 tastant solutions (each prepared with and without barium) using the general Labeled Magnitude Scale. Tongue-palate pressures and submental surface electromyography (sEMG) were simultaneously measured during swallowing of these same randomized liquids. Path analysis differentiated the effects of stimulus, genetic taste status, age, barium condition, taste intensity, and an effortful saliva swallow strength covariate on swallowing. Results: Barium stimuli were rated as having reduced taste intensity compared with nonbarium stimuli. Barium also dampened fizziness but did not influence burning-stinging sensation. The amplitudes of tongue-palate pressure or submental sEMG did not differ when swallowing barium versus nonbarium stimuli. Conclusions: Despite impacting taste intensity, the addition of barium to liquid stimuli does not appear to alter behavioral parameters of swallowing. Barium solutions can be considered to elicit behaviors that are similar to those used with nonbarium liquids outside the assessment situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-767
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Barium
  • Chemesthesis
  • Deglutition
  • Electromyography
  • Swallowing
  • Taste
  • Tongue pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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