Table of Contents
ISRN Neurology
Volume 2012, Article ID 613595, 17 pages
Clinical Study

Brain Activation in Primary Motor and Somatosensory Cortices during Motor Imagery Correlates with Motor Imagery Ability in Stroke Patients

1Department of Human Science “Riccardo Massa”, Centre for Studies in Communication Sciences (CESCOM), University of Milan-Bicocca, 20162 Milan, Italy
2Studi Cognitivi, Cognitive Psychotherapy School and Research Center, Foro Buonaparte 57, 20121 Milan, Italy
3Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
4Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
5Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
6Cognitive Neuroscience Group, Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and Medical Psychology, Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany
7Institut für Neurowissenschaften und Medizin, Forschungszentrum Juelich, 52428 Jülich, Germany

Received 6 November 2012; Accepted 25 November 2012

Academic Editors: G. de Courten-Myers and F. G. Wouterlood

Copyright © 2012 Linda Confalonieri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aims. While studies on healthy subjects have shown a partial overlap between the motor execution and motor imagery neural circuits, few have investigated brain activity during motor imagery in stroke patients with hemiparesis. This work is aimed at examining similarities between motor imagery and execution in a group of stroke patients. Materials and Methods. Eleven patients were asked to perform a visuomotor tracking task by either physically or mentally tracking a sine wave force target using their thumb and index finger during fMRI scanning. MIQ-RS questionnaire has been administered. Results and Conclusion. Whole-brain analyses confirmed shared neural substrates between motor imagery and motor execution in bilateral premotor cortex, SMA, and in the contralesional inferior parietal lobule. Additional region of interest-based analyses revealed a negative correlation between kinaesthetic imagery ability and percentage BOLD change in areas 4p and 3a; higher imagery ability was associated with negative and lower percentage BOLD change in primary sensorimotor areas during motor imagery.