Prof. David Elad

Tongue kinematics during breast-feeding of healthy infants

Mid-sagittal submental ultrasound movie clips recorded during infant breastfeeding were dynamically analyzed. The active contour (or snakes) model was utilized for tracing the contours of the palate and the upper outline of the tongue in each frame. Examples of the tracked contours representing the palate (in red) and the upper surface of the tongue (in green) are demonstrated in the figure. Assembling of the results from all frames (about 150) of the movie on a single plane revealed that both contours move with time within the image plan. All movements not related to breastfeeding were eliminated by performing rigid registration around the rigid palate as shown in the figure. The dynamic analysis of tongue motility during breastfeeding was performed with respect to a system of polar coordinates that was imposed on the registered data. Tracing the intersections between the tongue contours and the polar coordinates in consecutive images yielded tongue kinematics during breastfeeding. The time-dependent motility of the anterior tongue about the polar lines number 1 through 8 collapsed on each other, which denoted a rigid body motion in a direction perpendicular to the hard palate. Drawing the motility of a more posterior section of the tongue about the polar lines number 8, 13, 17 and 22 clearly demonstrated an ordered posteriorly spreading of the curves with a phase shift, similar to a pattern of propagating peristaltic waves towards the posterior end of the tongue. Tongue-Kinematics-1