In a nutshell
This study investigated the effectiveness of mirror therapy (MT) in the treatment of stroke. Researchers suggested that MT improves the movement of the affected member.
Patients with stroke often experience impaired movement, especially in the arm. These patients usually undergo rehabilitation therapy within the first 6 months.
MT has been tested as a therapy in stroke rehabilitation. During an MT session, patients place their hands in a mirror box which is separated by a vertical mirror. The affected hand goes into one side of the box, behind the mirror, and the other hand to the other side. The reflection of the healthy hand is seen in the place of the affected one. When patients are moving their healthy hand (as part of the therapy) it creates the illusion that the affected hand is moving.
Prior studies showed that MT improves movement in patients with stroke after 6-8 weeks of MT-based programs. It has also been showed that during and after MT, specific brain areas change, However, it is not clear if MT changes the brain at the first hours after a single MT session.
Methods & findings
The objective of this study was to investigate the changes in the brain caused by MT therapy in patients with stroke. This study included information about 15 patients who had a stroke. These patients were followed-up before and after a single 30-minutes MT session using imaging methods, such as MRI.
A positive change was found after MT in the affected brain area. This suggests improved movement outcomes after MT therapy in patients with stroke.
The bottom line
This study concluded that MT therapy in patients with stroke changes the affected brain areas, which can improve the outcomes of movement symptoms.
The fine print
This study had a limited number of participants and did not evaluate physical outcomes. Further larger and longer-term studies are needed.
Published By :
The International journal of neuroscience
Sep 15, 2018