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Hemispheric Dominance Of Tongue Control Depends On The Chewing-side Preference

H. Shinagawa, T. Ono, Y. Ishiwata, E. Honda, T. Sasaki, M. Taira, A. Iriki, T. Kuroda

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Blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD)-functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is known to be a non-invasive technique for studying human brain function. The purpose of this study was to apply BOLD-fMRI to identify brain areas responsible for producing tongue movements and their relation to chewing-side preference in 15 normal right-handed volunteers. A marked increase in BOLD signals was detected in primary sensorimotor cortices upon protrusion and in rightward and leftward tongue movements compared with at rest. In 10 subjects with an evident chewing-side preference, the BOLD signal change in the primary sensorimotor cortex was significantly greater on the side contralateral to the preferred chewing side. The results suggest that there is a relationship between hemispheric dominance and chewing-side preference in primary sensorimotor cortices responsible for tongue movements.