27 November 2014
A collaborative team has published findings that could help healthcare professionals working with stroke patients who have restricted use of their upper limbs.
Dr David Wright and Professor Paul Holmes worked with Dr Jacqueline Williams from the Victoria University in Melbourne to conduct the study, which focused on the area of the brain that is responsible for movement.
The research saw the team use transcranial magnetic stimulation to analyse healthy participants while they observed a video showing simple hand movements, which they simultaneously imagined that they were performing.
They found that using both imagery and observation created the strongest activity in the brain, according to the report published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Using electrodes on the hand, the team found that muscle contractions in response to the cortical stimulation were larger when participants were imagining themselves moving their muscle at the same time as watching a video of a hand moving on screen.
This may help stroke patients who could practice the recommended techniques, which may help maintain activity in movement-related brain areas, especially when used alongside more traditional physiotherapy techniques where the same movements are also practiced physically.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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