ISSN: 1899-0967
Polish Journal of Radiology
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vol. 88
Head and neck radiology
Original paper

Demonstration of chewing-related areas in the brain via functional magnetic resonance imaging

Oktay Algin
1, 2, 3
Orhan Murat Kocak
Yasemin Gokcekuyu
Kemal S. Turker

Department of Radiology, City Hospital, Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey
Department of Radiology, Yildirim Beyazit University, Ankara, Turkey
National MR Research Center, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
Department of Psychiatry, Baskent University, Ankara, Turkey
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Dentistry, Gelisim University, Istanbul, Turkey
© Pol J Radiol 2023; 88: e65-e74
Online publish date: 2023/01/31
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To localize and identify chewing-related areas and their connections with other centres in the human brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Material and methods
The paradigm of the present study was block designed. Spontaneous and controlled chewing with sugar-free gum was used as the main task in a 3-Tesla fMRI unit with a 32-channel birdcage coil. Our study popu­lation comprised 32 healthy volunteers. To determine possible intersections, we also put the rosary pulling (silent tell one’s beads) movement in the fMRI protocol. The data analyses were performed with the Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM) toolbox integrated into the Matlab platform.

The superomedial part of the right cerebellum was activated during either pulling rosary beads or spontaneous chewing. This region, however, was not activated during controlled chewing. We did not find statistically significant activation or connection related to the brain stem.

We have confirmed that the cerebellum plays an important role in chewing. However, we could not find a definite central pattern generator (CPG) in the brain stem, which has been hypothesized to underlie spontaneous chewing.


central pattern generator, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), rhythmogenesis, movement disorder, locomotion, mastication (chewing)

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