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BMC Neuroscience

, 8:62

First Online: 02 August 2007Received: 09 February 2007Accepted: 02 August 2007


BackgroundSensory input is crucial to the initiation and modulation of swallowing. From a clinical point of view, oropharyngeal sensory deficits have been shown to be an important cause of dysphagia and aspiration in stroke patients. In the present study we therefore investigated effects of functional oropharyngeal disruption on the cortical control of swallowing. We employed whole-head MEG to study cortical activity during self-paced volitional swallowing with and without topical oropharyngeal anesthesia in ten healthy subjects. A simple swallowing screening-test confirmed that anesthesia caused swallowing difficulties with decreased swallowing speed and reduced volume per swallow in all subjects investigated. Data were analyzed by means of synthetic aperture magnetometry SAM and the group analysis of the individual SAM data was performed using a permutation test.

ResultsThe analysis of normal swallowing revealed bilateral activation of the mid-lateral primary sensorimotor cortex. Oropharyngeal anesthesia led to a pronounced decrease of both sensory and motor activation.

ConclusionOur results suggest that a short-term decrease in oropharyngeal sensory input impedes the cortical control of swallowing. Apart from diminished sensory activity, a reduced activation of the primary motor cortex was found. These findings facilitate our understanding of the pathophysiology of dysphagia.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2202-8-62 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Inga K Teismann, Olaf Steinstraeter contributed equally to this work.

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Autor: Inga K Teismann - Olaf Steinstraeter - Kati Stoeckigt - Sonja Suntrup - Andreas Wollbrink - Christo Pantev - Rainer Dziewa


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