Bimanual non-congruent actions in motor neglect syndrome: A combined behavioral/fMRI study

F. Garbarini, L. Turella, M. Rabuffetti, A. Cantagallo, A. Piedimonte, E. Fainardi, A. Berti, L. Fadiga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Motor Neglect (MN) syndrome, a specific impairment in non-congruent bimanual movements has been described. In the present case-control study, we investigated the neuro-functional correlates of this behavioral deficit. Two right-brain-damaged (RBD) patients, one with (MN+) and one without (MN−) MN, were evaluated by means of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in a bimanual Circles-Lines (CL) paradigm. Patients were requested to perform right-hand movements (lines-drawing) and, simultaneously, congruent (lines-drawing) or non-congruent (circles-drawing) left-hand movements. In the behavioral task, MN− patient showed a bimanual-coupling-effect, while MN+ patient did not. The fMRI study showed that in MN−, a fronto-parietal network, mainly involving the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA) and the posterior parietal cortex (PPC), was significantly more active in non-congruent than in congruent conditions, as previously shown in healthy subjects. On the contrary, MN+ patient showed an opposite pattern of activation both in pre-SMA and in PPC. Within this fronto-parietal network, the pre-SMA is supposed to exert an inhibitory influence on the default coupling of homologous muscles, thus allowing the execution of non-congruent movements. In MN syndrome, the described abnormal pre-SMA activity supports the hypothesis that a failure to inhibit ipsilesional motor programs might determine a specific impairment of non-congruent movements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number541
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - Oct 6 2015


  • Bimanual actions
  • Bimanual coupling effect
  • fMRI
  • Motor neglect
  • Supplementary and pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA; SMA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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