Mirror imaging of finger mechanical stimulation affects secondary somatosensory response

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The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of finger-tip touch on the somatosensory cortex under mirror imaging conditions. Magnetoencephalographic recordings of somatosensory-evoked field responses to mechanical tactile stimulation of the index finger in both hands were obtained for the right-handed healthy participants as part of the following mirror or nonmirror tasks. Both hands were screened and mechanical stimuli were delivered to the right index finger pulp. A mirror was placed in front of the patient with the right hand facing the reflective surface, as if it were the left side (mirror task). Another task comprised the screening of right hands behind a partition, after which mechanical stimuli were delivered to the right index finger pulp without a mirror (nonmirror task). The same tasks for the left hand were also examined. The estimated current dipoles were identified and analyzed. In the measurements following all the tasks, the equivalent current dipoles (ECDs) were estimated in the corresponding contralateral primary somatosensory area (cSI). The other ECDs were estimated in the secondary somatosensory area both contralateral (cSII) and ipsilateral (iSII) to the stimulus side. The amplitudes of ECDs in the cSII area following the left index stimuli in the mirror task were significantly larger than those in the nonmirror task (P=0.043). The mirror effect on the somatosensory cortex in this study may be small, but a positive variation was shown in the form of a response to the actual stimulation in the hand opposite to the hand which was hidden behind the mirror.

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