Mirror Neuron Dysfunction in Neurology

Session Date: 
Oct 5, 2012

My interest in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) stems from an earlier, and broader, interest in mirror neurons and their dysfunction (and restitution of function) in neurology.  We begin with a brief survey of the mirror neuron system (MNS) seen from an evolutionary perspective and deal with some criticisms (mainly by psychologists and philosophers).  We then make specific predictions of what to expect from their dysfunction in neurological populations with stroke or phantom limbs (and current evidence of mirror feedback therapy which taps into the MNS) as well as neurotypical populations who overlap with ASD.  We also report a tangentially related, but astonishing, preliminary observation that paralysis and pain in the right hand (and fingers) can lead to retrograde brain changes causing dyscalculia and finger agnosia.  Can this be reversed with mirror feedback?

File 2012_10_05_11_Ramachandran-Web.mp4148.52 MB