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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2010 Jun;24(5):404-12. doi: 10.1177/1545968309354536. Epub 2010 Mar 5.

The mirror neuron system: a neural substrate for methods in stroke rehabilitation.

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Motor Behavior and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory, Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9006, USA.


Mirror neurons found in the premotor and parietal cortex respond not only during action execution, but also during observation of actions being performed by others. Thus, the motor system may be activated without overt movement. Rehabilitation of motor function after stroke is often challenging due to severity of impairment and poor to absent voluntary movement ability. Methods in stroke rehabilitation based on the mirror neuron system--action observation, motor imagery, and imitation--take advantage of this opportunity to rebuild motor function despite impairments, as an alternative or complement to physical therapy. Here the authors review research into each condition of practice, and discuss the relevance of the mirror neuron system to stroke recovery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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