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Table 1 Clinical studies involving the mirror system

From: The mirror neuron system in post-stroke rehabilitation

Study N Tool Procedure Results p value
Grèzes et al.[32] 12 fMRI Video recordings of objects, grasping pantomimes. Significant activation in the left intraparietal area during object observation vs baseline. p = 0.001
Montgomery et al.[33] 14 fMRI Videos of communicative hand gestures, object-directed hand movements and word stimuli. Activations in the inferior parietal lobe and frontal operculum. p < 0.001
Hamilton and Grafton. [34] 20 fMRI Handed participants watched twelve sets of videos presented in a pseudorandom order and pressed a key if the film was froze in the middle of the action. A stronger response was found in regions throughout the fronto-parietal circuits, right inferior parietal lobule and right inferior frontal gyrus extending to the inferior frontal sulcus. p < 0.001
Gazzola et al.[11] 16 fMRI Subjects watched either a human or a robot performing various actions. All visual stimuli were video clips lasting between 2.5 and 4 s. During motor execution active areas were: motor primary in the frontal lobe; sensitive primary and secondary the parietal lobe and the middle temporal gyrus in the temporal lobe. p < 0.001
Michielsen et al.[2, 23] 22 fMRI Movement of the hands with observation of the mirror reflex. The active regions were the precuneus and the posterior cingulate cortex. p < 0.005
Tanaka and Inui. [35] 12 fMRI Subjects were instructed to imitate presented postures using their right hand or fingers. Significant activation was observed in Broca’s area. p < 0.001
Heiser et al.[36] 14 TMS Patients watched different videos showing a hand pressing a sequence of 2 (out of 4 possible keys) on a key-press box. There was a selective deficit of the imitation task for rTMS over the left and right pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus, compared to rTMS over the occipital cortex. p < 0.005
Stefan et al.[16] 20 TMS Task that encoded an elementary motor memory. Observation of movements led to the formation of a lasting specific memory trace in movement representations that resembled that elicited by physical training. p < 0.005
Oberman et al.[37] 11 EEG Subjects opened and closed their right hand while watching a video of a moving hand. Consistent pattern of suppression in the frequency band of interest. p = 0.001
  1. Abbreviations: TMS, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, EEG, electroencephalography; μ, mu rhythm, fMRI, Functional magnetic resonance imaging, FMS, Fugl-Meyer scale, MP, Mental practice.