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Cerebral Cortical Control Of Deglutition

D. Vasant, S. Hamdy
Published 2013 · Medicine

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The human swallowing musculature is coordinated centrally through a multidimensional hierarchy of deglutative centres both in the cerebral cortex and brain stem. The cortex has an important role in initiation of the volitional swallow and has a role in all three phases of deglutition. Developments in technology, particularly functional brain imaging, have seen a fuller delineation of the human swallowing network and studies have shown that this system is adaptable to stimuli and subject to plastic change both to internal and external inputs. There is evidence to suggest cortical functional asymmetry, with a dominant swallowing hemisphere in healthy individuals, and when this is affected by stroke, with the non-dominant hemisphere clinically thought to be relevant in re-organisation and recovery of swallowing function. Finally, there is now considerable interest in neuromodulatory-based techniques in driving this brain re-organisation after cerebral injury.
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