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Hum Brain Mapp. 2009 Aug;30(8):2426-39. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20680.

Functional brain imaging of swallowing: an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis.

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  • 1School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


A quantitative, voxel-wise meta-analysis was performed to investigate the cortical control of water and saliva swallowing. Studies that were included in the meta-analysis (1) examined water swallowing, saliva swallowing, or both, and (2) reported brain activation as coordinates in standard space. Using these criteria, a systematic literature search identified seven studies that examined water swallowing and five studies of saliva swallowing. An activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of these studies was performed with GingerALE. For water swallowing, clusters with high activation likelihood were found in the bilateral sensorimotor cortex, right inferior parietal lobule, and right anterior insula. For saliva swallowing, clusters with high activation likelihood were found in the left sensorimotor cortex, right motor cortex, and bilateral cingulate gyrus. A between-condition meta-analysis revealed clusters with higher activation likelihood for water than for saliva swallowing in the right inferior parietal lobule, right postcentral gyrus, and right anterior insula. Clusters with higher activation likelihood for saliva than for water swallowing were found in the bilateral supplementary motor area, bilateral anterior cingulate gyrus, and bilateral precentral gyrus. This meta-analysis emphasizes the distributed and partly overlapping cortical networks involved in the control of water and saliva swallowing. Water swallowing is associated with right inferior parietal activation, likely reflecting the sensory processing of intraoral water stimulation. Saliva swallowing more strongly involves premotor areas, which are crucial for the initiation and control of movements.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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