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Clinical Research Grant - 2023

The Laryngeal component of the human Startle Reflex (LASR)

The diagnostic utility of laryngeal reflexes in infants
Associate Professor Catherine Sinclair

Project Description

The Laryngeal Adductor Reflex (LAR) is a primordial, life-sustaining brainstem reflex, initiated by irritation of supraglottic and glottic mucosa and resulting in bilateral vocal fold adduction and tracheobronchial tree protection. The role of LAR in childhood disease states such as brief resolved unexplained events (BRUEs), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and breath holding disorders is unclear and, similarly, whether BRUE and SIDS are two process within the same spectrum with common aetiologic pathways remain unknown. If, however, the final common pathway of these two conditions is airway obstruction, measuring the strength of a startle induced laryngeal closure reflex response may allow for stratification of newborns into risk groups for subsequent airway morbidity and facilitate provision of considered 'high risk'. This pilot study aims to measure LAR in newborns to evaluate whether certain electromyographic characteristics can be used to diagnose future airway morbidity.

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