Neuroplasticity and swallowing

Dysphagia. 2009 Jun;24(2):218-29. doi: 10.1007/s00455-008-9193-9. Epub 2009 Jan 7.


Recent research has suggested that the central nervous system controlling swallowing can undergo experience-dependent plasticity. Moreover, swallowing neuroplastic change may be associated with behavioural modulation. This article presents research evidence suggesting that nonbehavioural and behavioural interventions, as well as injury, can induce swallowing neuroplasticity. These studies indicate that while swallowing and limb neuroplasticity share certain features, certain principles of swallowing neuroplasticity may be distinct. Thus, an understanding of swallowing neuroplasticity is necessary in terms of explaining and predicting the (1) behavioural effects of injury to the swallowing nervous system and (2) effects of swallowing interventions applied in rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Cortex*
  • Deglutition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Deglutition*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation