Phantom limb imaginary fingertapping causes primary motor cortex activation: an fMRI study

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A conventional 1.0 T MR-scanner was used to detect signal intensity changes in blood oxygenation level dependent-sensitive acquisitions of motor cortex during real (left hand) and imaginary (right hand) fingertap- ping in a man who had his right arm amputated. The subject was instructed alternately to move the intact left hand fingers and to imagine tapping his ‘fingers’ on the amputated right hand. Activated areas were detected using a cross-correlation technique with superimposition of highly correlated voxels on to a corresponding high resolution, anatomical 3D image. Activation was observed in the right motor cortex during fingertapping with the intact left hand, and a corresponding activation in the left motor cortex for imaginary movements of the amputated right hand fingers.

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