, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 238–249 | Cite as

Age-Related Differences in Laterality of Cortical Activations in Swallowing

  • Georgia A. Malandraki
  • Bradley P. Sutton
  • Adrienne L. Perlman
  • Dimitrios C. Karampinos
Original Article


The present study examined age differences in neural lateralization patterns during swallowing and three related tasks, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Ten healthy right-handed young adults (mean age = 21.7 years, SD = 2.1 years) and nine healthy elders (mean age = 70.2 years, SD = 3.9 years) were scanned in a 3-T MRI head scanner. Participants were visually cued to “prepare to swallow,” “swallow,” “tap your tongue,” and “clear your throat” in randomized order. Laterality preference for each task was examined within and between groups using region-of-interest (ROI) analyses in seven areas of the left and right primary sensorimotor and premotor cortices. Results of the within-group comparisons verified a more active role of the left premotor cortex in motor-cognitive planning of deglutition in both young and older adults and a more active role of selected areas of the right hemisphere during swallowing in young adults. Greater variability was seen during tongue tapping and throat clearing in both groups. Finally, as people age the cortical hemispheric control of swallowing seems to start becoming more symmetrical/bilateral, which may indicate neural compensatory mechanisms of the aging brain commonly seen for other motor and cognitive functions.


Neuroimaging Swallowing fMRI Lateralization Neurophysiology Aging Deglutition Deglutition disorders 



This work was performed at the Biomedical Imaging Center of the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This work was partially supported by the Mary Jane Neer Research Fund Award of the College of Applied Health Sciences and by the Campus Research Board of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgia A. Malandraki
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bradley P. Sutton
    • 3
  • Adrienne L. Perlman
    • 4
  • Dimitrios C. Karampinos
    • 5
  1. 1.William S. Middleton Memorial Veteran HospitalMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Department of BioengineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Speech and Hearing ScienceUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  5. 5.Department of Mechanical Science and EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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