Patterns of motor control reorganization in a patient with mirror movements

Clin Neurophysiol. 2000 Feb;111(2):318-25. doi: 10.1016/s1388-2457(99)00239-4.


Objective: To explore motor control reorganization in a 40-year-old, left-handed patient with perinatally acquired mirror movements.

Methods: We performed simultaneous bilateral recordings of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) following focal transcranial magnetic stimulation (fTMS) and of central silent period (cSP) during unilateral voluntary contraction in abductor pollicis brevis (APB) and abductor digiti minimi (ADM) muscles.

Results: For both muscles the MEP study showed bilateral fast-conducting corticospinal projections from the right undamaged hemisphere, and residual contralateral projections from the left hemisphere. The cSP findings differed in the two muscles: the mirror phenomenon was bilateral in the ADM, but present only on the right side in the APB muscles; the mirror activity of right ADM and APB muscles was inhibited only by fTMS of the ipsilateral right motor cortex; the mirror phenomenon in the left ADM muscle was inhibited only by fTMS of the contralateral right motor cortex.

Conclusions: Mirror movements of right APB and ADM muscles were sustained by the ipsilateral connections from the undamaged motor cortex, while the mirror phenomenon in the left ADM muscle could be explained by hypothesizing a bilateral activation of motor cortices. This previously unreported electrophysiological picture demonstrates that different patterns of motor control may realize after perinatal cerebral lesions, even in different distal muscles of the same patient.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Electromyography
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetics
  • Male
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology*