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Abstract #3798

Action observation network in children with unilateral cerebral palsy: an fMRI study.

Laura Biagi1, Giuseppina Sgandurra1, Leonardo Fogassi2, Andrea Guzzetta1,3, Giovanni Cioni1,3, and Michela Tosetti1

1IRCCS Stella Maris, PISA, Italy, 2Department of Neuroscience, University of Parma, Parma, Italy, 3Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, PISA, Italy

Mirror Neuron System (MNS) activation constitutes a powerful mechanism for recovery of motor deficits after stroke. We studied with fMRI the MNS (re)-organization in children with congenital unilateral cerebral palsy (UCP), using a goal-directed hand action stimulus. With respect to age-matched controls, UCP children present differences, appearing more lateralized to the dominant hemisphere as adults. The subject-specific pattern of lateralization seems related to the type and extension of the lesion and correlates negatively with the severity of the hand impairment. This paradigm might be useful to explore MNS in UCP and to monitor possible motor improvements in response to therapy.

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