Study finds humans depend on multiple body maps

Sendai: A new study has found that the body relies on multiple brain maps based on the choice of the motor system.

The research has been published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal’.

Patients with motor dysfunction have abnormalities in their hands and feet that are felt in the brain. Traditional rehabilitation takes into account physical dysfunctions. But the recovery of the neurological aspects is not visible and subjective.

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To reveal more behind our body map, Matsumiya organized an experiment where participants were instructed to point to various parts of their right hand with the index finger on their left hand whilst simultaneously following with their eyes. This enabled him to measure the mind’s perception of the right hand for the eyes and the left-hand movements.

Even though the eye and the left hand were pointing to the same spots, the imaging from the pointing was more distorted, demonstrating the existence of a separate body map.

Matsumiya expects his findings to contribute to the development of new diagnostic techniques for the motor dysfunction.

“Today, Japan’s population is ageing rapidly, so we are experiencing a sharp increase in the number of patients with motor dysfunctions. A better understanding of how patients’ bodies are perceived by their minds will help to build a more effective rehabilitation technique,” Matsumiya said.

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