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Nov 28, 2006

Motor imagery of complex everyday movements

Motor imagery of complex everyday movements. An fMRI study.

Neuroimage. 2006 Nov 15;

Authors: Szameitat AJ, Shen S, Sterr A

The present study aimed to investigate the functional neuroanatomical correlates of motor imagery (MI) of complex everyday movements (also called everyday tasks or functional tasks). 15 participants imagined two different types of everyday movements, movements confined to the upper extremities (UE; e.g., eating a meal) and movements involving the whole body (WB; e.g., swimming), during fMRI scanning. Results showed that both movement types activated the lateral and medial premotor cortices bilaterally, the left parietal cortex, and the right basal ganglia. Direct comparison of WB and UE movements further revealed a homuncular organization in the primary sensorimotor cortices (SMC), with UE movements represented in inferior parts of the SMC and WB movements in superior and medial parts. These results demonstrate that MI of everyday movements drives a cortical network comparable to the one described for more simple movements such as finger opposition. The findings further are in accordance with the suggestion that motor imagery-based mental practice is effective because it activates a comparable cortical network as overt training. Since most people are familiar with everyday movements and therefore a practice of the movement prior to scanning is not necessarily required, the current paradigm seems particularly appealing for clinical research and application focusing on patients with low or no residual motor abilities.

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