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Neurocase. 2008;14(4):293-306. doi: 10.1080/13554790802363688. Epub 2008 Sep 2.

Rehabilitation of gesture imitation: a case study with fMRI.

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Department of Psychology, Second University of Naples, Caserta, Italy.


Acquired disorders of gesture imitation are amenable to treatment, but with poor generalisation toward gestures not included in the training program. We investigated the neural basis of this item-specific recovery in a patient with a slowly progressive posterior cortical atrophy, by means of an fMRI study comparing imitation of rehabilitated and not-rehabilitated gestures. Results suggested that in our patient gesture imitation recruited the mirror system and additional areas relevant to gesture analysis and preparation. Imitation of rehabilitated gestures activated the mirror neuron system, and also left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and putamen, and the right anterior temporal cortex. This suggests that item-specific recovery was based on interaction of circuitry of imitation with neural systems involved in emotional and motivational processing.

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