Little is known about the action observation network (AON) in children with unilateral cerebral palsy (UCP). Using fMRI, we aimed to explore AON and sensory-motor network (SMN) in UCP children and compare them to typically developed (TD) children and analyse the relationship between AON (re-)organization and several neurophysiological and clinical measures. Twelve UCP children were assessed with clinical scales and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). For the fMRI study, they underwent a paradigm based on observation of complex and simple object-manipulation tasks executed by dominant and nondominant hand. Moreover, UCP and TD children carried out a further fMRI session to explore SMN in both an active motor and passive sensory task. AON in the UCP group showed higher lateralization, negatively related to performances on clinical scales, and had greater activation of unaffected hemisphere as compared to the bilateral representation in the TD group. In addition, a good congruence was found between bilateral or contralateral activation of AON and activation of SMN and TMS data. These findings indicate that our paradigm might be useful in exploring AON and the response to therapy in UCP subjects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology