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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2005 Jul 28;147(2-3):205-22.

Central nervous system control of the laryngeal muscles in humans.

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Laryngeal and Speech Section, Medical Neurology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke/NIH, Building 10, Room 5D 38, 10 Center Drive MSC 1416, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Laryngeal muscle control may vary for different functions such as: voice for speech communication, emotional expression during laughter and cry, breathing, swallowing, and cough. This review discusses the control of the human laryngeal muscles for some of these different functions. Sensori-motor aspects of laryngeal control have been studied by eliciting various laryngeal reflexes. The role of audition in learning and monitoring ongoing voice production for speech is well known; while the role of somatosensory feedback is less well understood. Reflexive control systems involving central pattern generators may contribute to swallowing, breathing and cough with greater cortical control during volitional tasks such as voice production for speech. Volitional control is much less well understood for each of these functions and likely involves the integration of cortical and subcortical circuits. The new frontier is the study of the central control of the laryngeal musculature for voice, swallowing and breathing and how volitional and reflexive control systems may interact in humans.

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