Cortical activation during executed, imagined, observed, and passive wrist movements in healthy volunteers and stroke patients
Szameitat , A. J., Shen, S., Conforto , A. and Sterr, A. (2012) Cortical activation during executed, imagined, observed, and passive wrist movements in healthy volunteers and stroke patients. NeuroImage, 62 (1). pp. 266-280. ISSN 1053-8119
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.05.009
Motor imagery, passive movement, and movement observation have been suggested to activate the sensorimotor system without overt movement. The present study investigated these three covert movement modes together with overt movement in a within-subject design to allow for a fine-grained comparison of their abilities in activating the sensorimotor system, i.e. premotor, primary motor, and somatosensory cortices. For this, 21 healthy volunteers underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In addition we explored the abilities of the different covert movement modes in activating the sensorimotor system in a pilot study of 5 stroke patients suffering from chronic severe hemiparesis. Results demonstrated that while all covert movement modes activated sensorimotor areas, there were profound differences between modes and between healthy volunteers and patients. In healthy volunteers, the pattern of neural activation in overt execution was best resembled by passive movement, followed by motor imagery, and lastly by movement observation. In patients, attempted overt execution was best resembled by motor imagery, followed by passive movement, and lastly by movement observation. Our results indicate that for severely hemiparetic stroke patients motor imagery may be the preferred way to activate the sensorimotor system without overt behavior. In addition, the clear differences between the covert movement modes point to the need for within-subject comparisons.