What are the Mirror Neurons And what part of the brain are they in?
The Mirror Neurons They are brain cells that are activated either when we perform an action, or when we observe another individual performing a similar action. They are found in the motor and premotorial areas, in the inferior parietal cortex of the brain, in the Broca area. This particular category of neurons, originally discovered in the years ' 90 by the group of neuroscientists of the University of Parma led by Prof. Giacomo Rizzolatti , can play a fundamental role in the processes of learning, imitation, and empathy.
According to Prof. Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, the discovery of Mirror Neurons has been so revolutionary in the scientific field that it is argued that ' I Mirror Neurons They will be for psychology what the DNA was for biology '.
What do mirror neurons have to do with motor rehabilitation?
The possibility to activate brain areas belonging to the motor system through the simple observation of an action, has inspired in recent years several researches in the field of neurorabilitation of different pathologies of the nervous system, with Particular regard to infantile cerebral palsy.
In this field Mirrorable It is the first rehabilitation platform based on modern discoveries related to the plasticity of the brain and Mirror Neurons . Designed and conceived by FightTheStroke A child-friendly measure, it allowed with the first pilot phase to give evidence of how learning and recovery of motor, cognitive and relational skills are possible through the Action Observation Treatment. In the application of this method to selected cases of hemiindrome, the movement of the limb that tends to be used to a reduced extent, is encouraged through the observation of another child who carries out the movement with the same limb.
What is brain plasticity and how does it affect recovery after trauma?
Brain plasticity is the ability of our brain to undergo transformations in response to our experience, the surrounding environment, thought, emotions and pathological events. This ability, modulated by numerous genetic and environmental factors, constitutes one of the fundamental biological substrates of the recovery of functions compromised in neurological pathologies such as cerebral trauma or stroke.
What is the process of activating mirror neurons?
The Mirror Neurons They are brain cells that are activated either when we perform an action, or when we observe another individual performing a similar action. This process of integration between perception and action, can potentially involve all the sensory modalities that convey a stimulus containing "motor information": In this way it evokes a response of the motor system, a bit ' as if it was fulfilled In the first person that certain action.
Scientific research has shown that the Mirror Neurons They are also activated in paralyzed subjects or phantom limb syndrome (e.g. when the patient has undergone an amputation).
What is the difference between Action Observation Treatment and Motor Imagery?
The AOT or Action Observation treatment is a modality of rehabilitation therapy based on the theory of the mirror-neuron-system: the recovery of the motor function is stimulated through the observation of another person who performs certain actions.
The Motor Imagery, on the other hand, is a rehabilitative approach based on the pure imagination of a given action (or sequence of actions). It is based on the assumption that the imagination and execution of the same action share the common activation of certain brain circuits.
What is the difference between Action Observation Treatment and Mirror Therapy?
The AOT or Action Observation Treatment is a type of neurorabilitation based on the theory of the mirror-neuron-system, through which motor improvement is produced by observing the actions of another person.
Mirror Therapy, on the other hand, is a rehabilitative approach frequently used in amputated adult patients, which activates specific sensory-motor brain areas by observing the movement performed by the functioning limb in order to Give the brain the illusion of activating the so-called ' phantom ' limb.
Milan, June 2017
For more information about the project: Www. Mirrorable . org