This article investigates whether or not mirror therapy alters the neural mechanisms in human motor cortex. Six healthy volunteers participated. The study investigated the effects of three main factors of mirror therapy (observation of hand movements in a mirror, motor imagery of an assumed affected hand, and assistance in exercising the assumed affected hand) on excitability changes in the human motor cortex to clarify the contribution of each factor. The increase in motor-evoked potential (MEP) amplitudes during motor imagery tended to be larger with a mirror than without one. Moreover, MEP amplitudes increased greatly when movements were assisted. Watching the movement of one hand in a mirror makes it easier to move the other hand in the same way. Moreover, the increase in MEP amplitudes is related to the synergic effects of afferent information and motor imagery.
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