A novel method for studying the cortical processing of human swallowing using Synthetic Aperture Magnetometry(SAM)

S. Hamdy, A. Hobson, D. Thompson, Paul L. Furlong

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstractpeer-review


Background/Aims: Positron emission tomography has been applied to study cortical activation during human swallowing, but employs radio-isotopes precluding repeated experiments and has to be performed supine, making the task of swallowing difficult. Here we now describe Synthetic Aperture Magnetometry (SAM) as a novel method of localising and imaging the brain's neuronal activity from magnetoencephalographic (MEG) signals to study the cortical processing of human volitional swallowing in the more physiological prone position. Methods: In 3 healthy male volunteers (age 28–36), 151-channel whole cortex MEG (Omega-151, CTF Systems Inc.) was recorded whilst seated during the conditions of repeated volitional wet swallowing (5mls boluses at 0.2Hz) or rest. SAM analysis was then performed using varying spatial filters (5–60Hz) before co-registration with individual MRI brain images. Activation areas were then identified using standard sterotactic space neuro-anatomical maps. In one subject repeat studies were performed to confirm the initial study findings. Results: In all subjects, cortical activation maps for swallowing could be generated using SAM, the strongest activations being seen with 10–20Hz filter settings. The main cortical activations associated with swallowing were in: sensorimotor cortex (BA 3,4), insular cortex and lateral premotor cortex (BA 6,8). Of relevance, each cortical region displayed consistent inter-hemispheric asymmetry, to one or other hemisphere, this being different for each region and for each subject. Intra-subject comparisons of activation localisation and asymmetry showed impressive reproducibility. Conclusion: SAM analysis using MEG is an accurate, repeatable, and reproducible method for studying the brain processing of human swallowing in a more physiological manner and provides novel opportunities for future studies of the brain-gut axis in health and disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1489
Number of pages1
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2001


  • positron emission tomograph
  • cortical activation
  • human swallowing
  • Synthetic Aperture Magnetometry
  • brain's neuronal activity
  • magnetoencephalographic signals
  • volitional swallowing
  • prone position


Dive into the research topics of 'A novel method for studying the cortical processing of human swallowing using Synthetic Aperture Magnetometry(SAM)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this