BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In healthy humans, observation of another individual performing a motor training task (action observation [AO]) facilitates, in the observer, the effects of physical training (PT) on motor memory formation. It is not known whether this facilitatory process, of potential value for neurorehabilitation, occurs after stroke. METHODS: Eight chronic stroke patients completed this crossover-randomized investigation. A transcranial magnetic stimulation protocol that tests formation of motor memories was used to determine the effects of PT alone and in combination with AO in 2 different forms: congruent (PT+AOcongruent) and incongruent (PT+AOincongruent) to the practiced task. RESULTS: The magnitude of motor memory formation was larger with PT+AOcongruent than with PT alone or PT+ AOincongruent. This effect was associated with a differential corticomotor excitability change in the muscles acting as agonist and antagonist of the trained/observed movements. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that congruent AO in association with physical training can enhance the effects of motor training after stroke.
- Action observation
- Mirror neurons system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing