Filippo Brighina, Brigida Fierro, Giuseppe Cosentino, Francesca Valentino, Danilo Fontana, Mauro Fresia, Enrico Alfonsi, Alberto Priori, Giorgio Sandrini, Antonio Schindler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND:Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive technique used for modulating cortical excitability in vivo in humans. Here we evaluated the effect of tDCS on behavioral and electrophysiological aspects of physiological sucking and swallowing.METHODS:Twelve healthy subjects underwent three tDCS sessions (anodal, cathodal and sham stimulation) on separate days in a double-blind randomized order. The active electrode was placed over the right swallowing motor cortex. Repeated sucking and swallowing acts were performed at baseline and at 15 and 60 min after each tDCS session and the mean liquid bolus volume ingested at each time point was measured. We also calculated average values of the following electrophysiological parameters: 1) area and 2) duration of the rectified EMG signal from the suprahyoid/submental muscles related to the sucking and swallowing phases; 3) EMG peak amplitude for the sucking and swallowing phases; 4) area and peak amplitude of the laryngeal-pharyngeal mechanogram; 5) oropharyngeal delay.RESULTS:The volume of the ingested bolus significantly increased (by an average of about 30% compared with the baseline value) both at 15 and at 60 min after the end of anodal tDCS. The electrophysiological evaluation after anodal tDCS showed a significant increase in area and duration of the sucking phase-related EMG signal.CONCLUSIONS:Anodal tDCS leads to stronger sucking of a liquid bolus in healthy subjects, likely by increasing recruitment of cortical areas of the swallowing network. This finding might open up interesting perspectives for the treatment of patients suffering from dysphagia due to various pathological conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-822
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Stimulation
Publication statusPublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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