About this Research Topic
Orofacial functions (e.g., chewing, swallowing, speaking) are complex, potentially life-sustaining sensorimotor behaviors controlled by the central and peripheral nervous systems. These functions are impaired following injury and in many neurological diseases that are more prevalent in the elderly. Considering the expected increase in life expectancy in developed countries, orofacial sensorimotor impairment is likely to become a socioeconomic burden to governments, families, and individuals.
A wide range of sophisticated techniques in neuroscience research have been developed and used in humans and animals to investigate how neural and non-neural (e.g., glial) cells and networks can be modified by experience or disease. Examples include behavioral, brain imaging, electrophysiological, cellular, molecular, and genetic techniques. Furthermore, the orofacial apparatus consists of interactions of critical components for eating, breathing, and vocalization controlled by many muscles that are harmoniously coordinated with high precision of position and force control. Thus, with recent emergent computational machinery and robotics technology, there has been series of developments on simulation models and robots to characterize orofacial movements. The findings from these studies have allowed for a better understanding of orofacial functions and dysfunctions, and have the potential to guide the development of targeted therapeutic strategies for the restoration of orofacial functions and quality of life.
The overall goal of this Research Topic on ‘Orofacial Functions: From Neural Mechanism to Rehabilitation’ is to gather current knowledge from studies focusing on orofacial sensory-motor structures and functions and utilizing conventional as well as sophisticated cutting-edge techniques. Thus, this Research Topic will provide insights into the latest discoveries in orofacial sensorimotor behaviors in health, disease, and following rehabilitation, and will suggest possible underlying neural mechanisms in humans and animals. It is hoped that findings of these novel studies will lay down the foundation for further studies and the development of improved orofacial rehabilitation strategies.
All submitted manuscripts should be within the field of orofacial sensorimotor functions and utilize humans or animal models, computational models, or robotics. Area of research should include, but is not limited to, biting, chewing, swallowing, or speech functions in healthy subjects and in subjects following injury or disease, and modeling such behaviors and conditions for simulation models and robots. Both original research and focused reviews will be considered for publication.
Keywords: Mastication, swallowing, neurophysiology, neuroplasticity, sensorimotor control, rehabilitation
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