Motor Imagery Resources
Most of these references pertain to an underlying hypothesis of the 2LDance.org endeavor: can structured high-repetition, high-affinity, vivid visual motor imagery experienced in Second Life trigger responses similar to those shown in the literature. This, as they say, is What It Is All About.
Phase III and beyond.
Neurology & Motor Imagery RESOURCES
URLs (key articles below)
Neural Regeneration Bibliography
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KEY ARTICLES & ABSTRACTS
Graded Motor Imagery
GMI is a rehabilitation process used to treat pain and movement problems related to altered nervous systems by exercising the brain in measured and monitored steps which increase in difficulty as progress is made.
The three different treatment techniques include left/right discrimination training, motor imagery exercises and mirror therapy. These techniques are delivered sequentially but require a flexible approach from the patient and clinician to move forwards, backwards and sideways in the treatment process to suit the individual.
We recommend that anybody with a chronic pain state learns more about the GMI process and talks to their clinician about options to include brain training exercises as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation programme.
Research shows people in pain often lose the ability to identify left or right images of their painful body part(s) (i.e. when viewing pictures of body parts they are slower and/or less accurate than somebody without pain at determining whether the image is a Left or Right).
This ability appears to be important for normal recovery from pain. The good news is that the brain is plastic and changeable, if given the right training for long enough. So with the appropriate tools, a bit of work, patience and persistence, it is possible to improve the ability (speed and accuracy) to discriminate between Left and Right body parts and movements.
EXPLICIT MOTOR IMAGERY
Explicit motor imagery is essentially thinking about moving without actually moving. Imagined movements can actually be hard work if you are in pain. This is most likely because 25 percent of the neurones in your brain are 'mirror neurones' and start firing when you think of moving or even watch someone else move (this is why you can feel exhausted after watching an action movie).
By imagining movements, you use similar brain areas as you would when you actually move. This is why sports people imagine an activity before they do it. It's exercising the brain before the rest of the body which is what you will be trying to do with the explicit motor imagery part of the GMI process.
There are many ways to go through this process but the most common way used in GMI is to imagine yourself moving rather than watching or imagining other people moving.
If you put your left hand behind a mirror and right hand in front, you can trick your brain into believing that the reflection of your right hand in the mirror is your left. You are now exercising your left hand in the brain, particularly if you start to move your right hand. Sounds tricky!
Mirrors can sometimes be used by themselves but often it is best to do once you have a good ability to discriminate your Lefts from your Rights and imagine movements, i.e. the first two stages of GMI.
p.s. mirrors are cheap and you may not need drugs.
Therapeutic Relevance of Motor Imagery in Motor Rehabilitation after Spinal Cord Injury (pp. 203-218)
Authors: (Franck Di Rienzo, Aymeric Guillot, Gilles Rode, Christian Collet, Performance Motrice Mentale et du Matériel, Université Claude Bernard Lyon, Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, France, and others)
A large body of research demonstrated that motor imagery (the mental representation of an action without its actual execution) shares common neural substrates with motor planning and motor execution. In this chapter, we review current issues regarding motor imagery use in motor rehabilitation after spinal cord injury, with a special focus on cervical cord lesions eliciting quadriplegia.
Firstly, we review the outcome of spinal cord injury on central reorganizations, due to neuroplasticity. Then, we discuss theoretical and practical rationale for motor imagery use as a therapeutic tool in the management of motor rehabilitation. Functional equivalence between imagined and executed actions makes mental training relevant to stimulate the neural networks mediating motor control, and a potential tool in the induction of central reorganizations. Issues regarding motor imagery capacities in spinal cord injured patients due to the effect of de-efferentation and de-afferentation on brain motor functions will thus be considered.
While neuroimaging studies report that motor imagery is likely to favor functional recovery after spinal cord injury, only few studies addressed this issue in applied experimental designs. Here, we report two pioneer studies supporting the therapeutic relevance of motor imagery after cervical cord injury. Firstly, motor imagery practice might improve motor planning of grasp actions after C6-C7 injury, by promoting motor learning of the tenodesis grasp.
Secondly, after tendon transfer following C5-C6 injury, motor imagery practice might favor the central reorganizations required for central integration of new muscular function. Both studies promote the impact of mental practice on cerebral plasticity resulting in motor improvements. Tough further studies including larger group of patients are necessary to confirm these findings, motor imagery is a promising technique to help functional recovery after spinal cord injuries.
Real movement vs. motor imagery in healthy subjects
International Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume 87, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 35–41
Motor imagery tasks are well established procedures in brain computer interfaces, but are also used in the assessment of patients with disorders of consciousness. For testing awareness in unresponsive patients it is necessary to know the natural variance of brain responses to motor imagery in healthy subjects.
We examined 22 healthy subjects using EEG in three conditions: movement of both hands, imagery of the same movement, and an instruction to hold both hands still. Single-subject non-parametric statistics were applied to the fast-Fourier transformed data.
Most effects were found in the α- and β-frequency ranges over central electrodes, that is, in the μ-rhythm. We found significant power changes in 18 subjects during movement and in 11 subjects during motor imagery. In 8 subjects these changes were consistent over both conditions. The significant power changes during movement were a decrease of μ-rhythm. There were 2 subjects with an increase and 9 subjects with a decrease of μ-rhythm during imagery.
α and β are the most responsive frequency ranges, but there is a minor number of subjects who show a synchronization instead of the more common desynchronization during motor imagery.
A (de)synchronization of μ-rhythm can be considered to be a normal response.
Highlights► Mu-rhythm response may differ (de-/synchronization) for motor imagery. ► The kind of mu-response (de-/synchronization) differs between subjects. ► Single-subject analysis reveals robust effects for individuals.
Awesome Bibliography from this same article:
Could motor imagery be effective in upper limb rehabilitation of individuals with spinal cord injury?
A case study
Spinal Cord (2012) 50,766–771; doi:10.1038/sc.2012.41;
published online 17 April 2012
Abstract: A case study.Objective: The aim was to investigate whether motor imagery (MI) could be successfully incorporated into conventional therapy among individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) to improve upper limb (UL) function.
Setting: The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit at the Henry Gabrielle Hospital in Lyon, France.
Methods: The participant was an individual with a complete C6 SCI. MI content was focused on functional UL movements, to improve hand transport to reach out and grasp with tenodesis. The participant was tested before and after 15 MI training sessions (45 min each, three times a week during 5 consecutive weeks). MI ability and program compliance were used as indicators of feasibility. The Minnesota and Box and Blocks tests, as well as movement time and hand trajectory during targeted movements were the dependent variables, evaluating motor performance before and after MI training.
Results: The participant’s ability to generate MI was checked and compliance with the rehabilitation program was confirmed. The time needed to complete the Minnesota test decreased by 1 min 25 s. The Box and Blocks score was improved by three units after MI program. Decreased movement time and enhanced hand trajectory smoothness were still observed 3 months later, despite a slight decrease in performance.
Conclusions: This study supports the feasibility for introducing MI in conventional therapy. Further studies should confirm the potential role of MI in motor recovery with a larger sample.
The neural network of motor imagery: An ALE meta-analysis
Motor imagery activates fronto-parietal, subcortical and cerebellar regions.The motor imagery network includes regions involved during actual motor execution.The primary motor cortex is not consistently activated during motor imagery.Consistency of activations is modulated by the type of movements.Consistency of activations is modulated by the nature of the motor imagery task.Motor imagery (MI) or the mental simulation of action is now increasingly being studied using neuroimaging techniques such as positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging.
The booming interest in capturing the neural underpinning of MI has provided a large amount of data which until now have never been quantitatively summarized. The aim of this activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis was to provide a map of the brain structures involved in MI. Combining the data from 75 papers revealed that MI consistently recruits a large fronto-parietal network in addition to subcortical and cerebellar regions.
Although the primary motor cortex was not shown to be consistently activated, the MI network includes several regions which are known to play a role during actual motor execution. The body part involved in the movements, the modality of MI and the nature of the MI tasks used all seem to influence the consistency of activation within the general MI network. In addition to providing the first quantitative cortical map of MI, we highlight methodological issues that should be addressed in future research.
Virtual feedback for motor and pain rehabilitation after spinal cord injury
M Roosink and C Mercier
Spinal Cord 52, 860-866 (December 2014) | doi:10.1038/sc.2014.160
Abstract Study design:
Interventions using virtual feedback (VF) impact on motor functions and pain and may be relevant for neurorehabilitation after spinal cord injury (SCI) in which motor dysfunctions and (concomitant) pain are frequently observed. Potential mechanisms underlying VF include a modulation of cortical sensorimotor integration, increased therapy engagement and distraction from effort and pain. Still, the optimal parameters for VF and their technical implementation are currently unknown.
To provide an overview of interventions that have used VF to improve motor functions or to reduce pain after SCI.
A total number of 17 studies were identified. VF interventions commonly focused on improving motor functions (n=12) or reducing pain (n=4). Only one study assessed both motor functions and pain. Studies generally report beneficial effects. However, the evidence is of low-level quality and many practical as well as theoretical issues remain unclear. Remaining knowledge gaps include: (1) optimal VF system characteristics, (2) the impact of different VF modalities and tasks, (3) dose–response relationships and (4) the identification of patients that are likely to benefit from VF. Future work should start by closing these knowledge gaps using systematic and controlled multi-session interventions and by assessing the underlying mechanisms involved.
These results provide an important incentive to further assess the potential of VF interventions to simultaneously improve motor functions and reduce pain after SCI, which could contribute to better neurorehabilitation outcomes after SCI.