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New Perspectives in the Rehabilitation of Children With Motor Disorders : the Role of the Mirror Neuron System

This study has been completed.
University of Parma
IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Stefania Costi, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Identifier:
First received: November 18, 2009
Last updated: June 23, 2014
Last verified: June 2014
Evidence exists that the activation of actions activates the same cortical motor areas that are involved in the performance of the observed actions. The neural substrate for this phenomena is the mirror neuron system. It is generally assumed that mirror neurons have a basic role in understanding the intentions of others and in imitation learning. There is evidence that action observation has a positive effect on rehabilitation of motor disorders after stroke. The aim of this study is to demonstrate that action observation followed by the repetition of the actions previously observed has a positive impact on rehabilitation of the upper limb in children affected by hemiplegia as a consequence of Cerebral Palsy. In particular, the purpose is to assess if mirror neurons could improve the amount, the quality and the velocity of movements and the cooperation between the two upper extremities.

Condition Intervention
Cerebral Palsy
Other: action observation therapy
Other: repetition of gestures

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Care Provider, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Rehabilitation Strategies in Children With Neuro-motor Disorders Due to the Impairment of the Central Nervous System or the Peripheral Nervous System

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Modena and Reggio Emilia:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Melbourne Assessment of unilateral limb function [ Time Frame: T0=baseline, Tend (week three) , T2(two months) T6months (six months after the completion of the training) ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Assisting Hand Assessment [ Time Frame: T0, Tend, T2, T6 ]
  • Jebsen-Taylor [ Time Frame: T0, Tend, T2, T6 ]
  • Abilhand emikids [ Time Frame: T0, Tend, T2, T6 ]

Enrollment: 20
Study Start Date: September 2009
Study Completion Date: November 2010
Primary Completion Date: May 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Action observation plus repetition
Observation of actions and repetition of the same actions
Other: action observation therapy
15 consecutive sessions of 18 minutes, plus repetition
Active Comparator: repetition only
repetition of gestures
Other: repetition of gestures
15 consecutive session of visual games, plus repetition of gestures


Ages Eligible for Study:   6 Years to 12 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • children with hemiplegia and
  • Melbourne assessment > 50 points

Exclusion Criteria:

  • inability to collaborate
  • pharmacoresistant epilepsy
  • inability to imitate gestures
  • sensitivity disorders
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01016496

Hospital of Parma
Parma, Italy, 43100
IRCCS Stella Maris
Pisa, Italy
Azienda Santa Maria Nuova -
Reggio Emilia, Italy, 42100
Sponsors and Collaborators
Stefania Costi
University of Parma
IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris
Principal Investigator: Rizzolatti Giacomo, Professor University of Parma
Study Director: Ferrari Adriano, Professor University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Stefania Costi, technician, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Identifier: NCT01016496     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: MIRROR_UDGEE_09
Study First Received: November 18, 2009
Last Updated: June 23, 2014

Keywords provided by University of Modena and Reggio Emilia:
Cerebral Palsy
Mirror neurons
action observation therapy
children affected by hemiplegia as a consequence of Cerebral Palsy

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Cerebral Palsy
Motor Disorders
Brain Damage, Chronic
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Neurologic Manifestations
Signs and Symptoms
Mental Disorders processed this record on May 25, 2017