Combined Action Observation and Motor Imagery Neurofeedback Up-Regulates Contralateral Sensorimotor Activity
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Motor imagery (MI) and action observation have proven to be efficacious adjuncts to traditional physiotherapy, to enhance motor recovery from stroke. Recently, researchers have used a combined approach called imagined imitation (II), where an individual watches a motor task being performed, while simultaneously imagining they are performing the movement. While neurofeedback (NFB) has been used extensively with MI to improve patients’ ability to modulate sensorimotor activity and enhance motor recovery, the feasibility of using NFB with II is unknown. This project tested whether healthy controls could modulate sensorimotor lateralization during II-NFB of a unilateral handshake using electroencephalography, and whether this ability transferred to subsequent MI. Thirty-two subjects, receiving real or sham NFB attended four sessions where they engaged in II-NFB training and subsequent MI. Results showed the NFB group demonstrated more sensorimotor activity during sessions three and four, and that this NFB effect transferred to subsequent MI.