Cortical input in control of swallowing

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This review presents a current synopsis of newer research in cortical control of swallowing and its relationship to advancing knowledge in the field of human swallowing neurophysiology. The intent is to highlight recent findings and to stimulate potential research questions not yet investigated.

Recent findings

Advances in human brain imaging have led to a wealth of newer insights into the cortical and subcortical control of human swallowing. This includes a better understanding of the hemispheric contributions to swallowing control and the mechanisms that underlie recovery or compensation after neurological injury.

Summary

Through advances in imaging and neuroimaging techniques, our knowledge of the neuroanatomy and physiology of swallowing has increased dramatically over the last decade. Integration and interconnection of the diverse swallowing cortical network and how sensory input influences swallowing cortical activation has started to provide a better understanding of the physiological mechanisms that underpin this exquisite yet fundamental sensorimotor function. Experimental paradigms for swallowing neural reorganization have begun to provide evidence for their translation into clinical practice for dysphagia rehabilitation.

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