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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 38--44

Underlying neural mechanisms of mirror therapy: Implications for motor rehabilitation in stroke

Department of Occupational Therapy, Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for the Physically Handicapped, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Kamal Narayan Arya
Department of Occupational Therapy, Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for the Physically Handicapped, 4 VD Marg, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.173622

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Mirror therapy (MT) is a valuable method for enhancing motor recovery in poststroke hemiparesis. The technique utilizes the mirror-illusion created by the movement of sound limb that is perceived as the paretic limb. MT is a simple and economical technique than can stimulate the brain noninvasively. The intervention unquestionably has neural foundation. But the underlying neural mechanisms inducing motor recovery are still unclear. In this review, the neural-modulation due to MT has been explored. Multiple areas of the brain such as the occipital lobe, dorsal frontal area and corpus callosum are involved during the simple MT regime. Bilateral premotor cortex, primary motor cortex, primary somatosensory cortex, and cerebellum also get reorganized to enhance the function of the damaged brain. The motor areas of the lesioned hemisphere receive visuo-motor processing information through the parieto-occipital lobe. The damaged motor cortex responds variably to the MT and may augment true motor recovery. Mirror neurons may also play a possible role in the cortico-stimulatory mechanisms occurring due to the MT.


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Online since 20th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow