Background: Swallowing is one of the most important activities in our life and serves the dual roles of nutritional intake and eating enjoyment.
Objective: The study aimed to conduct a meta-analysis to investigate the brain activity of swallowing.
Methods: Studies of swallowing using functional magnetic resonance imaging were reviewed in PubMed, Web of Science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese Science and Technology Periodical Database (VIP) and Wan Fang before 30 November 2021. Two authors analysed the studies for eligibility criteria. The final inclusion of studies was decided by consensus. An activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of these studies was performed with GingerALE, including 16 studies.
Results: For swallowing, clusters with high activation likelihood were found in the bilateral insula, bilateral pre-central gyrus, bilateral post-central gyrus, left transverse temporal gyrus, right medial front gyrus, bilateral inferior frontal gyrus and bilateral cingulate gyrus. For water swallowing, clusters with high activation likelihood were found in the bilateral inferior frontal gyrus and the left pre-central gyrus. For saliva swallowing, clusters with high activation likelihood were found in the bilateral cingulate gyrus, bilateral pre-central gyrus, left post-central gyrus and left transverse gyrus.
Conclusion: This meta-analysis reflects that swallowing is regulated by both sensory and motor cortex, and saliva swallowing activates more brain areas than water swallowing, which would promote our knowledge of swallowing and provide some direction for clinical and other research.
Keywords: activation likelihood estimation; functional magnetic resonance imaging; meta-analysis; saliva; swallowing; water.
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.