Neurological and Physiological Factors

A variety of neurological and physiological factors can cause feeding difficulties. Neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy and paralysis, can result in severe feeding problems (Burklow et al. 1998). Likewise, conditions affecting the coordination of the complex process of chewing and swallowing, such as brain stem gliomas and Chiari malformations, represent other potential neurological causes of some feeding disorders. Disorders that affect the peristaltic movement of food can also bring about feeding problems (Rudolph and Link 2002). Inflammation of the digestive pathway (e.g., esoph-agitis, Crohn's disease) and severe reflux (e.g., gas-troesophageal reflux) can produce considerable discomfort that interferes with normal feeding (Burklow et al. 1998). Finally, medications that suppress appetite can negatively impact feeding behavior (Manikam and Perman 2000).

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