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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Anesthesiology and Pain Management - Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Physiology

Asymmetric Activation of the Primary Motor Cortex during Observation of a Mirror Reflection of a Hand
Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Author: Wataru Tominaga et al.

by Wataru Tominaga, Jun Matsubayashi, Makiko Furuya, Masao Matsuhashi, Tatsuya Mima, Hidenao Fukuyama, Akira Mitani

Mirror therapy is an effective technique for pain relief and motor function recovery. It has been demonstrated that magnetic 20-Hz activity is induced in the primary motor cortex (M1) after median nerve stimulation and that the amount of the stimulus-induced 20-Hz activity is decreased when the M1 is activated. In the present study, we investigated how the image or the mirror reflection of a hand holding a pencil modulates the stimulus-induced 20-Hz activity in the M1. Neuromagnetic brain activity was recorded from 13 healthy right-handed subjects while they were either viewing directly their hand holding a pencil or viewing a mirror reflection of their hand holding a pencil. The 20-Hz activity in the left or the right M1 was examined after the right or the left median nerve stimulation, respectively, and the suppression of the stimulus-induced 20-Hz in the M1 by viewing directly one hand holding a pencil or by viewing the mirror image of the hand holding a pencil was assumed to indicate the activation of the M1. The results indicated that the M1 innervating the dominant hand was suppressed either by viewing directly the dominant hand holding a pencil or by viewing the mirror image of the non-dominant hand holding a pencil. On the other hand, the M1 innervating the non-dominant hand was activated by viewing the mirror image of the dominant hand holding a pencil, but was not activated by viewing directly the non-dominant hand holding a pencil. The M1 innervating either the dominant or the non-dominant hand, however, was not activated by viewing the hand on the side ipsilateral to the M1 examined or the mirror image of the hand on the side contralateral to the M1 exaimined. Such activation of the M1 might induce some therapeutic effects of mirror therapy.