Contralateral dominance in the activation of the primary sensorimotor cortex (S1/M1) during tongue movements (TMs) has been shown to be associated with a chewing-side preference (CSP). However, little is known about its interaction with chewing-related cortical activation. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed before and after gum-chewing in six subjects who exhibited a left CSP to determine the relationship between the CSP and activation patterns in the S1/M1 during TMs. Before the subjects chewed the gum, activation foci were found in the bilateral S1/M1. In the left hemisphere, both signal intensity and the area of activation significantly increased during TMs within 10 min after subjects chewed gum. Moreover, this augmented activation significantly decreased within 20 min during tongue protrusion and leftward movement. In the right hemisphere, there were no marked changes during TMs. These results suggest that bilateral gum-chewing enhances activation of the S1/M1 ipsilateral to the CSP during TMs.
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