Bilateral slowing of mentally simulated actions after stroke

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The ability to mentally simulate motor actions was studied in 25 patients with stroke. The duration of imagined and executed movements of the arm and leg was compared. Both executed and imagined movements took longer with the affected limbs than with the unaffected limbs. For both tasks, the duration of movements with the unaffected limbs was longer in the imagined than in the executed conditions, indicating a lack of temporal congruence on that side. Because the temporal uncoupling was found in the limbs contralateral to the intact hemisphere, we propose that this reflects a general slowing in motor imagery that is an indirect consequence of the lesion, rather than a deficit in movement representation within the unaffected hemisphere per se.

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