Neural Correlates of Observation of Tactile Stimulation in Healthy Subjects

2014-08-27 03:54:04 | BioPortfolio


This study will examine activity in the brain during the observation of touch. Studies with animals have shown that mirror neurons, or nerve cells, are active during the observation and performance of an action. The researchers for this study hypothesize that a similar system pertains to observing and experiencing touch.

Patients ages 18 to 75 years old who are in good health, are right handed, and who are able to perform simple tasks that require attention may be eligible for this study. Pregnant women are not eligible.

Patients who have not had a health screening at NIH will undergo a clinical and neurological exam. Women of childbearing potential will also have a pregnancy test. The screening will take about 2 to 3 hours. A diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan will be performed if patients have not undergone one in the previous 12 months. During the procedure, patients will lie still on a table that will slide into the enclosed tunnel of the scanner. They will be asked to lie as still as possible for up to a few minutes at a time. As the scanner takes pictures, patients will hear knocking or beeping sounds, and they will wear earplugs to reduce the noise. Patients will be able to communicate with the MRI staff at all times during the scan, and they may ask to be moved out of the machine at any time. This scan will take about 2 hours.

Two sessions are involved in the study. The first one is intended to familiarize patients with the procedure. During it, they will learn about hand stimulus, through watching a video showing the index finger of a hand being touched by a stick repeatedly. Then the activity will be repeated, but this time, a researcher will also touch the patient's index finger while he or she is watching the video. This session will take about 1 hour.

The second session consists of a functional MRI scan, or fMRI. During it, pictures of the brain will be taken while patients perform tasks. All tasks will be explained in advance, and patients will have an opportunity to practice them before entering the scanner. The fMRI scan will take 1 to 2 hours.

The researchers will discuss the results of the tests with the participants. There is not a direct benefit to those who take part in the study. However, it is hoped that resulting information will enhance researchers' understanding about how the brain processes observed information.



There is growing evidence that a mirror system for action observation exists. Neurons in the monkey premotor cortex discharge with performance of goal directed actions and also with observation of another individual performing a similar action. This mirror neuron system for action observation seems to be important for the recognition and understanding of actions. Recently, bimodal neurons, sensitive both for tactile stimulation and for visual stimuli, were found in the parietal cortex. This suggests the idea that there might be a similar mirror neuron system for observing and receiving (or experiencing) tactile stimulation. The neuronal correlates of observing tactile stimulation are mainly unknown. The purpose of this protocol is to determine the pattern of brain activation related to the observation of a tactile stimulated hand.

Study Population:

We will test our hypothesis by means of a functional MRI (fMRI) experiment in a group of healthy subjects.


We hypothesize that observation of touch will rely on the activation of a cortical network that is different form the observation of non-touch and is in part overlapping with cortical structures active during real tactile stimulation (i.e., somatosensory cortex). Further, we hypothesize that the observation of touch enhances activation in the somatosensory cortex during real tactile stimulation.

Outcome Measures:

Our outcome measure will be an increase in the number of activated voxels in the somatosensory cortex during the touch observation (for both hypothesis). This would give an important hint for a mirror system for observed and received touch. A mirror neuron system for observed touch may become an important tool in rehabilitative treatment for patients with somatosensory impairments.

Study Design





National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
United States




National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:54:04-0400

Clinical Trials [5 Associated Clinical Trials listed on BioPortfolio]

Healthy Together Program Evaluation (Phase 3)

Healthy Together is a program that promotes the achievement and maintenance of healthy weights in children and their families.

Healthy for Two, Healthy for You

Investigators conducted a pilot feasibility and acceptability randomized controlled trial of a remotely delivered behavioral health coaching program in pregnancy and postpartum.

Study Evaluating MOA-728 Administered in Healthy Men

Absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) study with 14C in healthy young men.

The Healthy Cookie Study: Understanding How Healthy Cookies Affect Fat in the Blood,

The purpose of this study is to understand how consuming healthy cookies every day for two weeks will affect different types of fat in the blood. Specifically, the overall goal of this stu...

Study Evaluating IMA-026 in Healthy Subjects

To assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of IMA-026 administered subcutaneously (SC) or intravenously (IV) in healthy adults.

PubMed Articles [4417 Associated PubMed Articles listed on BioPortfolio]

Peace, Love, Field Day: An Innovative Approach to Cultivating Healthy Academic Communities.

The American Nurses Association declared 2017 the Year of the Healthy Nurse. In an effort to promote a healthy academic environment, faculty and staff in institutions of higher learning should serve a...

Analysis of Cranial Morphology of Healthy Infants Using Homologous Modeling.

Data on cranial morphology of healthy individuals can be used as the guide in the treatment of cranial deformity. There are many reports analyzing the cranial morphology of healthy children in the pas...

Ontario's Healthy Babies Healthy Children Screen tool: identifying postpartum families in need of home visiting services in Ottawa, Canada.

Across Ontario, the Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) postpartum screening tool is routinely used to identify families with potential risk of negative development outcomes for children.

Domains and Measurements of Healthy Aging in Epidemiological Studies: A Review.

Few studies have recommended the essential domains of healthy aging and their relevant measurement to assess healthy aging comprehensively. This review is to fill the gap, by conducting a literature r...

Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Cerebrovascular Reactivity in Healthy Adolescents.

Cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR), an important measure of cerebrovascular health in adults, has not been examined in healthy adolescents. Beyond the direct importance of understanding CVR in healthy y...

Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Healthy People Programs are a set of health objectives to be used by governments, communities, professional organizations, and others to help develop programs to improve health. It builds on initiatives pursued over the past two decades beginning with the 1979 Surgeon General's Report, Healthy People, Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives, and Healthy People 2010. These established national health objectives and served as the basis for the development of state and community plans. These are administered by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP). Similar programs are conducted by other national governments.

Governmental guidelines and objectives pertaining to public food supply and nutrition including recommendations for healthy diet and changes in food habits to ensure healthy diet.

Surgical reinnervation of a denervated peripheral target using a healthy donor nerve and/or its proximal stump. The direct connection is usually made to a healthy postlesional distal portion of a non-functioning nerve or implanted directly into denervated muscle or insensitive skin. Nerve sprouts will grow from the transferred nerve into the denervated elements and establish contact between them and the neurons that formerly controlled another area.

Process of evaluating the health of a patient and determining if they are healthy enough for surgery.

Dietary patterns which have been found to be important in reducing disease risk.

More From BioPortfolio on "Neural Correlates of Observation of Tactile Stimulation in Healthy Subjects"

Quick Search


Relevant Topics

Alzheimer's Disease
Of all the types of Dementia, Alzheimer's disease is the most common, affecting around 465,000 people in the UK. Neurons in the brain die, becuase  'plaques' and 'tangles' (mis-folded proteins) form in the brain. People with Al...

Within medicine, nutrition (the study of food and the effect of its components on the body) has many different roles. Appropriate nutrition can help prevent certain diseases, or treat others. In critically ill patients, artificial feeding by tubes need t...

Obstetrics and gynaecology
Fertility Menopause Obstetrics & Gynaecology Osteoporosis Women's Health Obstetrics and gynaecology comprises the care of the pregnant woman, her unborn child and the management of diseases specific to women. Most consultant...

Searches Linking to this Trial