A comparison of neural mechanisms in mirror therapy and movement observation therapy
Jing Wang, Claire Fritzsch, Johannes Bernarding , Susanne Holtze, Karl-Heinz Mauritz, Maddalena Brunetti, Christian Dohle
Department of Neurology, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Objective: To compare lateralized cerebral activations elicited during self-initiated movement mirroring and observation of movements.
Subjects: A total of 15 right-handed healthy subjects, age range 22–56 years.
Methods: Functional imaging study comparing movement mirroring with movement observation, in both hands, in an otherwise identical setting. Imaging data were analysed using statistical parametric mapping software, with significance threshold set at p < 0.01 (false discovery rate) and a minimum cluster size of 20 voxels.
Results: Movement mirroring induced additional activation in primary and higher-order visual areas strictly contralateral to the limb seen by the subject. There was no significant difference of brain activity when comparing movement observation of somebody else’s right hand with left hand.
Conclusion: Lateralized cerebral activations are elicited by inversion of visual feedback (movement mirroring), but not by movement observation.