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Motor imagery reinforces brain compensation of reach-to-grasp movement after cervical spinal cord injury.

By Sébastien eMateo, Sébastien eMateo, Sébastien eMateo, Sébastien eMateo, Franck eDi Rienzo, Vance eBergeron, Aymeric eGuillot, Aymeric eGuillot, Christian eCollet and Gilles eRode and Gilles eRode


Individuals with cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) that causes tetraplegia are challenged with dramatic sensorimotor deficits. However, certain rehabilitation techniques may significantly enhance their autonomy by restoring reach-to-grasp movements. Among others, evidence of motor imagery (MI) benefits for neurological rehabilitation of upper limb movements is growing. This literature review addresses motor imagery (MI) effectiveness during reach-to-grasp rehabilitation after tetraplegia. Among articles from MEDLINE published between 1966 and 2015, we selected ten studies including 34 participants with C4 to C7 tetraplegia and 22 healthy controls published during the last fifteen years. We found that MI of possible non-paralyzed movements improved reach-to-grasp performance by i) increasing both tenodesis grasp capabilities and muscle strength, ii) decreasing movement time, and trajectory variability, and, iii) reducing the abnormally increased brain activity. MI can also strengthen motor commands by potentiating recruitment and synchronization of motoneurons, which leads to improved recovery. These improvements reflect brain adaptations induced by MI. Furthermore, MI can be used to control brain computer interfaces (BCI) that successfully restore grasp capabilities. These results highlight the growing interest for MI and its potential to recover functional grasping in individuals with tetraplegia, and motivate the need for further studies to substantiate it

Topics: Rehabilitation, reach-to-grasp, Compensation, Recovery, brain plasticity, tetraplegia, Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry, RC321-571
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00234
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