Mirror neuron system activation in children with developmental coordination disorder: A replication functional MRI study

J. E. Reynolds, J. Billington, S. Kerrigan, J. Williams, C. Elliott, A. M. Winsor, L. Codd, M. Bynevelt, M. K. Licari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: It has been hypothesised that abnormal functioning of the mirror neuron system (MNS) may lead to deficits in imitation and the internal representation of movement, potentially contributing to the motor impairments associated with developmental coordination disorder (DCD).

Aims: Using fMRI, this study examined brain activation patterns in children with and without DCD on a finger adduction/abduction task during four MNS activation states: observation; motor imagery; execution; and imitation.

Methods and procedures: Nineteen boys (8.25-12.75 years) participated, including 10 children with DCD (= 25th percentile on MABC-2).

Outcomes and results: Even though children with DCD displayed deficits behaviourally on imitation (Sensory Integration & Praxis Test Subtests) and motor imagery assessments prior to scanning, no differences in MNS activation were seen between the DCD and control groups at a neurological level, with both groups activating mirror regions effectively across conditions. Small clusters of decreased activation during imitation were identified in non-mirror regions in the DCD group, including the thalamus, caudate, and posterior cingulate regions involved in motor planning and attentional processes.

Conclusions and implications: The results of this study do not provide support for the MNS dysfunction theory as a possible causal mechanism for DCD. Further research to explore attentional and motor planning processes and how they may interact at a network level may enhance our understanding of this complex disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-27
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume84
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

Cite this

Reynolds, J. E. ; Billington, J. ; Kerrigan, S. ; Williams, J. ; Elliott, C. ; Winsor, A. M. ; Codd, L. ; Bynevelt, M. ; Licari, M. K. / Mirror neuron system activation in children with developmental coordination disorder : A replication functional MRI study. In: Research in Developmental Disabilities. 2019 ; Vol. 84. pp. 16-27.
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Mirror neuron system activation in children with developmental coordination disorder : A replication functional MRI study. / Reynolds, J. E.; Billington, J.; Kerrigan, S.; Williams, J.; Elliott, C.; Winsor, A. M.; Codd, L.; Bynevelt, M.; Licari, M. K.

In: Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 84, 01.2019, p. 16-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Mirror neuron system activation in children with developmental coordination disorder

T2 - A replication functional MRI study

AU - Reynolds, J. E.

AU - Billington, J.

AU - Kerrigan, S.

AU - Williams, J.

AU - Elliott, C.

AU - Winsor, A. M.

AU - Codd, L.

AU - Bynevelt, M.

AU - Licari, M. K.

PY - 2019/1

Y1 - 2019/1

N2 - Background: It has been hypothesised that abnormal functioning of the mirror neuron system (MNS) may lead to deficits in imitation and the internal representation of movement, potentially contributing to the motor impairments associated with developmental coordination disorder (DCD).Aims: Using fMRI, this study examined brain activation patterns in children with and without DCD on a finger adduction/abduction task during four MNS activation states: observation; motor imagery; execution; and imitation.Methods and procedures: Nineteen boys (8.25-12.75 years) participated, including 10 children with DCD (= 25th percentile on MABC-2).Outcomes and results: Even though children with DCD displayed deficits behaviourally on imitation (Sensory Integration & Praxis Test Subtests) and motor imagery assessments prior to scanning, no differences in MNS activation were seen between the DCD and control groups at a neurological level, with both groups activating mirror regions effectively across conditions. Small clusters of decreased activation during imitation were identified in non-mirror regions in the DCD group, including the thalamus, caudate, and posterior cingulate regions involved in motor planning and attentional processes.Conclusions and implications: The results of this study do not provide support for the MNS dysfunction theory as a possible causal mechanism for DCD. Further research to explore attentional and motor planning processes and how they may interact at a network level may enhance our understanding of this complex disorder.

AB - Background: It has been hypothesised that abnormal functioning of the mirror neuron system (MNS) may lead to deficits in imitation and the internal representation of movement, potentially contributing to the motor impairments associated with developmental coordination disorder (DCD).Aims: Using fMRI, this study examined brain activation patterns in children with and without DCD on a finger adduction/abduction task during four MNS activation states: observation; motor imagery; execution; and imitation.Methods and procedures: Nineteen boys (8.25-12.75 years) participated, including 10 children with DCD (= 25th percentile on MABC-2).Outcomes and results: Even though children with DCD displayed deficits behaviourally on imitation (Sensory Integration & Praxis Test Subtests) and motor imagery assessments prior to scanning, no differences in MNS activation were seen between the DCD and control groups at a neurological level, with both groups activating mirror regions effectively across conditions. Small clusters of decreased activation during imitation were identified in non-mirror regions in the DCD group, including the thalamus, caudate, and posterior cingulate regions involved in motor planning and attentional processes.Conclusions and implications: The results of this study do not provide support for the MNS dysfunction theory as a possible causal mechanism for DCD. Further research to explore attentional and motor planning processes and how they may interact at a network level may enhance our understanding of this complex disorder.

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KW - DCD

KW - Mirror neuron system

KW - Imitation

KW - Motor imagery

KW - Functional magnetic resonance imaging

KW - fMRI

KW - MOTOR IMAGERY

KW - GRASP REPRESENTATIONS

KW - ATTENTION

KW - IMITATION

KW - BRAIN

KW - DYSFUNCTION

KW - FMRI

KW - PERFORMANCE

KW - MECHANISMS

KW - DEFICIT

U2 - 10.1016/j.ridd.2017.11.012

DO - 10.1016/j.ridd.2017.11.012

M3 - Article

VL - 84

SP - 16

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JO - Research in Developmental Disabilities

JF - Research in Developmental Disabilities

SN - 0891-4222

ER -