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J Dent Res. 2002 Nov;81(11):743-6.

Mapping brain region activity during chewing: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

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Department of Anatomy and Basic Neuroscience, Gifu University School of Medicine, Japan.


Mastication has been suggested to increase neuronal activities in various regions of the human brain. However, because of technical difficulties, the fine anatomical and physiological regions linked to mastication have not been fully elucidated. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging during cycles of rhythmic gum-chewing and no chewing, we therefore examined the interaction between chewing and brain regional activity in 17 subjects (aged 20-31 years). In all subjects, chewing resulted in a bilateral increase in blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signals in the sensorimotor cortex, supplementary motor area, insula, thalamus, and cerebellum. In addition, in the first three regions, chewing of moderately hard gum produced stronger BOLD signals than the chewing of hard gum. However, the signal was higher in the cerebellum and not significant in the thalamus, respectively. These results suggest that chewing causes regional increases in brain neuronal activities which are related to biting force.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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