Adaptive brain activity changes during tongue movement with palatal coverage from fMRI data

Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 6;11(1):13907. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-93332-3.


Successful adaptation to wearing dentures with palatal coverage may be associated with cortical activity changes related to tongue motor control. The purpose was to investigate the brain activity changes during tongue movement in response to a new oral environment. Twenty-eight fully dentate subjects (mean age: 28.6-years-old) who had no experience with removable dentures wore experimental palatal plates for 7 days. We measured tongue motor dexterity, difficulty with tongue movement, and brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging during tongue movement at pre-insertion (Day 0), as well as immediately (Day 1), 3 days (Day 3), and 7 days (Day 7) post-insertion. Difficulty with tongue movement was significantly higher on Day 1 than on Days 0, 3, and 7. In the subtraction analysis of brain activity across each day, activations in the angular gyrus and right precuneus on Day 1 were significantly higher than on Day 7. Tongue motor impairment induced activation of the angular gyrus, which was associated with monitoring of the tongue's spatial information, as well as the activation of the precuneus, which was associated with constructing the tongue motor imagery. As the tongue regained the smoothness in its motor functions, the activation of the angular gyrus and precuneus decreased.