According to University of Florida researchers, neurological disorders can trigger difficulty swallowing and reduced/weakened coughing, which together can increase the risk of pneumonia.
An important part of swallowing is complete closure of the larynx while food is moving through the throat. Disordered swallowing, or dysphagia, limits the ability of the muscles in the mouth and throat to move liquid or food into and through the esophagus and on to the stomach.
This inability to protect the airways and lungs increases the risk of pneumonia or choking.
In addition, many people with brain disorders experience reduced coughing, or a weakened ability to activate breathing muscles to generate airflows that eject material from the lungs. Weakened cough is caused by problems with nerves in our lungs that detect foreign material or with the brain driving the respiratory muscles.