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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 395705, 10 pages
Research Article

Prefrontal Hemodynamic Changes Associated with Subjective Sense of Occlusal Discomfort

1Health Science and Medical Engineering Laboratory, Department of Electronics and Bioinformatics, School of Science and Technology, Meiji University, Room A806, 1-1-1 Higashi-Mita, Tama-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 214-8571, Japan
2Department of Prosthodontic Dentistry for Function of TMJ and Occlusion, Kanagawa Dental University, 82 Inaoka-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 238-8869, Japan
3Department of Judo Therapy and Medical Science, Faculty of Medical Science, Nippon Sport Science University, 1221-1 Kamoshida-cho, Aoba-ku, Yokohama 227-0033, Japan

Received 15 June 2014; Accepted 21 October 2014

Academic Editor: Huayue Chen

Copyright © 2015 Yumie Ono et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We used functional near-infrared spectroscopy to measure prefrontal brain activity accompanying the physical sensation of oral discomfort that arose when healthy young-adult volunteers performed a grinding motion with mild occlusal elevation (96 μm). We simultaneously evaluated various forms of occlusal discomfort using the visual analogue scale (VAS) and hemodynamic responses to identify the specific prefrontal activity that occurs with increased occlusal discomfort. The Oxy-Hb responses of selected channels in the bilateral frontopolar and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices increased in participants who reported increased severity of occlusal discomfort, while they decreased in those who reported no change or decreased occlusal discomfort during grinding. Moreover, the cumulative values of Oxy-Hb response in some of these channels were statistically significant predictive factors for the VAS scores. A generalized linear model analysis of Oxy-Hb signals in a group of participants who reported increased discomfort further indicated significant cerebral activation in the right frontopolar and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices that overlapped with the results of correlation analyses. Our results suggest that the increased hemodynamic responses in the prefrontal area reflect the top-down control of attention and/or self-regulation against the uncomfortable somatosensory input, which could be a possible marker to detect the subjective sense of occlusal discomfort.