Step-by-step: The effects of physical practice on the neural correlates of locomotion imagery revealed by fMRI
Article first published online: 27 OCT 2009
Copyright © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Human Brain Mapping
Volume 31, Issue 5, pages 694–702, May 2010
How to Cite
Ionta, S., Ferretti, A., Merla, A., Tartaro, A. and Romani, G. L. (2010), Step-by-step: The effects of physical practice on the neural correlates of locomotion imagery revealed by fMRI. Hum. Brain Mapp., 31: 694–702. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20898
- Issue published online: 13 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 27 OCT 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 AUG 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 15 JUL 2009
- Manuscript Received: 11 MAY 2009
- neurovegetative activity;
- motor system;
- basal ganglia;
Previous studies have shown that mental imagery is a suitable tool to study the progression of the effect of practice on brain activation. Nevertheless, there is still poor knowledge of changes in brain activation patterns during the very early stages of physical practice. In this study, early and late practice stages of different kinds of locomotion (i.e., balanced and unbalanced) have been investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging during mental imagery of locomotion and stance. During the task, cardiac activity was also recorded. The cerebral network comprising supplementary motor area, basal ganglia, bilateral thalamus, and right cerebellum showed a stronger activation during the imagery of locomotion with respect to imagery of stance. The heart beat showed a significant increase in frequency during the imagery of locomotion with respect to the imagery of stance. Moreover, early stages of practice determined an increased activation in basal ganglia and thalamus with respect to late stages. In this way, it is proposed the modulation of the brain network involved in the imagery of locomotion as a function of physical practice time. Hum Brain Mapp, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.