Clinical applications and efficacy of mirror neuron function

Authors

  • Aleksandra Musioł Medical Student, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
  • Hanna Paluch Medical Student, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
  • Anna Samoń-Drzewicka Medical Student, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2077-2783
  • Anna Marcinkowska-Gapińska Department of Biophysics, Chair of Biophysics, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9180-2644

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.20883/medical.e931

Keywords:

mirror neurons, mirror therapy, stroke, phantom limb pain, complex regional pain syndrome, Bell’s palsy

Abstract

Mirror therapy aims to restore the function of a disabled body part by using the function of mirror neurons in the brain and mimicking the physiological activity of a healthy body part.  Mirror neurons were first discovered in monkeys and later found to exist in humans. The working pattern of "mirror" in the brain is always the same. If one limb moves, the correct part of the brain activates and triggers the mirror neurons responsible for stimulating the other limbs.. The therapy uses a box with a mirror on one side to hide the impaired limb.. When a healthy limb moves, the mirror reflects it.. The brain perceives it as a movement of an inefficient limb, even though it is only an illusion. It drives the recruitment of neural joints and reconstructs neural pathways. The utilisation of mirror neurons holds significant value in various therapeutic approaches, including rehabilitation, mirror therapy (MT), and observational action therapy (AOT). Moreover, these therapeutic methods have evolved to include virtual reality (VR) based treatments. A significant effect of this treatment was present in phantom limb pain (PLP) and post-stroke syndromes, such as motor aphasia and hemiparesis of the lower or upper limb. There are reports on the use of MT in some mental diseases or in autistic people in learning emotions. This review outlines the current possibilities and hopes for therapies based on mirror neuron functions based on selected cases.

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2023-12-07

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Review Papers

How to Cite

1.
Musioł A, Paluch H, Samoń-Drzewicka A, Marcinkowska-Gapińska A. Clinical applications and efficacy of mirror neuron function. JMS [Internet]. 2023 Dec. 7 [cited 2024 Jul. 19];93(2):e931. Available from: https://jms.ump.edu.pl/index.php/JMS/article/view/931
Received 2023-09-16
Accepted 2023-10-04
Published 2023-12-07