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Swallow-related Cerebral Cortical Activity Maps Are Not Specific To Deglutition

Mark Kern, Rasmus Birn, Safwan Jaradeh, Andrei Jesmanowicz, Robert Cox, James Hyde, Reza Shaker

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Cortical representation of swallow-related motor tasks has not been systematically investigated. In this study, we elucidated and compared these cortical representations to those of volitional swallow using block-trial and single-trial methods. Fourteen volunteers were studied by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Cortical activation during both swallowing and swallow-related motor tasks that can be performed independent of swallowing, such as jaw clenching, lip pursing, and tongue rolling, was found in four general areas: the anterior cingulate, motor/premotor cortex, insula, and occipital/parietal region corresponding to Brodmann's areas 7, 19, and 31. Regions of activity, volume of activated voxels, and increases in signal intensity were found to be similar between volitional swallow and swallow-related motor tasks. These findings, using both block-trial and single-trial techniques, suggest that cerebral cortical regions activated during swallowing may not be specific to deglutitive function.