Phantom limb imaginary fingertapping causes primary motor cortex activation: an fMRI study

Neuroreport. 1996 Dec 20;8(1):207-10. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199612200-00042.


A conventional 1.0 T MR-scanner was used to detect signal intensity changes in blood oxygenation level dependent-sensitive acquisitions of motor cortex during real (left hand) and imaginary (right hand) fingertapping in a man who had his right arm amputated. The subject was instructed alternately to move the intact left hand fingers and to imagine tapping his 'fingers' on the amputated right hand. Activated areas were detected using a cross-correlation technique with superimposition of highly correlated voxels on to a corresponding high resolution, anatomical 3D image. Activation was observed in the right motor cortex during fingertapping with the intact left hand, and a corresponding activation in the left motor cortex for imaginary movements of the amputated right hand fingers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fingers / innervation*
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imagination / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Phantom Limb / physiopathology*