Lateralization of cortical function in swallowing: A functional MR imaging study

Kristine M. Mosier, Wen Ching Liu, Joseph A Maldjian, Rasesh Shah, Bijal Modi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: While functional MR imaging and other techniques have contributed to our knowledge of functional brain localization, these methods have not been extensively applied to the complex and incompletely understood task of swallowing. We used functional MR imaging to investigate motor cortex activity during swallowing in healthy human adults. METHODS: Eight subjects were imaged on a 1.5-T MR system using blood oxygen leveldependent contrast mechanisms. Subjects performed three swallowing tasks and a finger-tapping task. Areas of activation in the cortex and subcortical areas were tabulated, and a laterality index, defined as LI = [Σs left - Σs right]/[Σs left + Σs right] x 100, was computed for the three tasks. RESULTS: Activation was observed in the primary motor and sensory cortices, motor processing and association areas, and subcortical sites. This activity was dominant for one hemisphere with left hemispheric dominance more prevalent among the subjects. Right hemispheric dominance, however, showed stronger lateralization than the left hemisphere. CONCLUSION: Our data indicate that specific sites in the motor cortex and other cortical and subcortical areas are activated with swallowing tasks and that hemispheric dominance is a feature of swallowing under these conditions. In addition, we demonstrate the utility of functional MR imaging in the study of the cortical representation of swallowing and suggest a role for functional MR imaging in the diagnosis of dysphagia of cerebral origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1520-1526
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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