Objectives: Mastication is associated with brain activation at the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) and the primary motor cortex (M1). Masticatory functions differ between patients with cognitive impairment (CI) and cognitively healthy older adults (non-CI). The association between cognitive health, brain network of functional connectivity, and mastication has remained unknown. The study investigated the association between masticatory performance (MP) and the topological feature of the functional network at the M1 and S1 in the CI and non-CI groups. Subjects and Methods: Forty-nine non-CI and 15 CI subjects received resting-state (rs) fMRI and assessment of MP. The topological feature of the M1 and S1 was quantified by eigenvector centrality (EC), an index that reflects a brain region as a functional “hub” of brain network. Results: In the non-CI group, MP was significantly correlated with EC of the left M1 and the right M1. The correlation was not statistically significant in the CI group. Cognitive status (CI or non-CI) and EC of the left M1 and the right M1, respectively, were statistically significant predictors to individual MP. Conclusion: Cognitive status and the topological feature of the M1 in the intrinsic functional network may contribute to the individual difference in masticatory function.
- cognitive dysfunction
- magnetic resonance imaging