Central motor pathways were investigated in three patients with congenital mirror movements using magnetic motor cortex stimulation. Response thresholds, amplitudes and latencies were normal. The projection of the corticomotoneuronal pathways was assessed by placing the coil over the vertex and comparing the size of responses in the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscles evoked by anticlockwise and clockwise [corrected] coil currents. In normal subjects, right FDI responses are larger with anticlockwise currents than with clockwise [corrected] currents at the same stimulation strength and vice versa. In two out of three patients with congenital mirror movements, this sensitivity of response amplitude to coil current direction was reversed. The third patient with congenital mirror movements and a fourth patient with acquired mirror movements had responses which were normally sensitive to current direction. These findings support the hypothesis that some cases of congenital mirror movements may be due to abnormal projection of corticomotoneuronal pathways.
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