Tactile, gustatory, and visual biofeedback stimuli modulate neural substrates of deglutition

Humbert IA; Joel S
Neuroimage; 59(2): 1485-90, 2012 Jan 16.
It has been well established that swallowing kinematics are modified with different forms of exogenous and endogenous input, however the underlying neural substrates associated with these effects are largely unknown. Our objective was to determine whether the swallowing BOLD response is modulated with heightened sensory modalities (taste, cutaneous electrical stimulation, and visual biofeedback) compared to water ingestion (control) in healthy adults across the age span. Habituation and sensitization were also examined for each sensory condition. Our principal findings are that each sensory swallowing condition activated components of the swallowing cortical network, plus regions associated with the particular sensory modality (i.e. primarily frontal motor planning and integration areas with visual condition). Overall, the insula was most commonly active among the sensory modalities. We also discuss gradual increases and decreases in BOLD signal with repeated exposures for each condition. We conclude that both stimulus- and intention-based inputs have unique cortical swallowing networks relative to their modality. This scientific contribution advances our understanding of the mechanisms of normal swallowing cortical control and has the potential to impact clinical uses of these modalities in treatments for neurogenic dysphagia.

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