Enhancing mirror visual feedback with intermittent theta burst stimulation in healthy adults

Jack Jiaqi Zhang, Kenneth N.K. Fong (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Excitatory brain stimulation, in the form of intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS), combined with mirror visual feedback (MVF), is hypothesized to promote neuroplasticity and motor performance. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the combined effects of iTBS with mirror training (MT) on the MVF-induced sensorimotor event-related desynchronization (ERD) and the non-dominant hand motor performance in healthy adults. Methods: Eighteen healthy right-handed subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups (Group 1: iTBS plus MT, Group 2: iTBS plus sham MT, or Group 3: sham iTBS plus MT). For participants in Groups 1 and 3, motor training was performed for 15 minutes for the right hand over four consecutive days, with MVF superimposing on their inactive left hand behind a mirror. Participants in Group 2 received the same right-hand motor training, but the mirror was covered without MVF. iTBS or sham iTBS was applied daily over the right primary motor cortex prior to the training. Electroencephalography at pre/post-training was recorded while participants performed right-hand movement under mirror and direct view. Motor performance was assessed at baseline and post-training. Results: Baseline comparisons demonstrated that a shift in sensorimotor ERD towards the right hemisphere was induced by MVF, in mu-1 (8-10Hz) (p=0.002), mu-2 (10-12Hz) (p=0.004) and beta-1 (12-16Hz) (p=0.049) bands. After the training, participants in Group 1 showed a stronger MVF-induced sensorimotor ERD in mu-1 (p=0.017) and mu-2 (p=0.009) bands than those in Group 3. No significant between-group difference in motor outcomes was observed. Conclusions: iTBS appears to prime subjects' brain to be more receptive to MVF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-495
Number of pages13
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • event-related desynchronization
  • mirror neuron system
  • mirror visual feedback
  • Theta burst stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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