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Stimulation Through Simulation: Maintaining and Retraining Brain Organization Following Deafferenting Injuries

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University of Oregon Eugene United States

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It is widely acknowledged that deafferenting injuries to the peripheral nerves or spinal cord induce rapid and profound maladaptive reorganization of primary sensory and motor limb representations in the mammalian brain. In this project we use advanced, non-invasive brain imaging techniques to optimize a set of portable, computer-based, movement simulation tasks previously demonstrated to stimulate sensory-motor representations of the upper limbs effectively. We find that right hemisphere parietal and premotor regions may differentiate between perceptions arising from movements of the individual vs. those that are generated by another e.g., therapist. By contrast, similar networks in the left hemisphere seem capable of being driven equally well by movements accompanied by self-generated visual feedback, as well as those that are undertaken in synchrony with movements of another, or merely imagined or observed. Therefore, on the basis of these results, we would expect these later left hemisphere mechanisms to play a critical role in the ability of motor imagery and observation to serve as effective stimuli for the sensory-motor system in individuals who are immobile. Additional work is necessary to determine whether these procedures can effectively maintain the organization of cortical representations or facilitate rehabilitation.

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Technical Report,04 Jun 2007,03 Jun 2010



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Approved For Public Release;

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