Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mirror, mirror: Scientists find cause of involuntary movements

Date:
April 30, 2010
Source:
University of Montreal
Summary:
Researchers have identified the genetic cause of mirror movements, where affected people are unable to move one side of the body without moving the other. For example, when trying to open and close their right hand, their left hand will unintentionally copy the movement. This important discovery provides new understanding on how mirror movements happen and improve scientific knowledge concerning how the brain functions.

Researchers have identified the genetic cause of mirror movements, where affected people are unable to move one side of the body without moving the other. For example, when trying to open and close their right hand, their left hand will unintentionally copy the movement. While mirror movements can be observed in fingers, hands, forearms, toes and feet of young children, persistence beyond the age of 10 is unusual.

Related Articles


The gene mutation found to cause mirror movements is called DCC (Deleted in Colorectal Carcinoma). This important discovery provides new understanding on how mirror movements happen and improve scientific knowledge concerning how the brain functions. Published in the latest edition of Science, the discovery is the collaboration of scientists from the Université de Montréal, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal, Montreal Heart Institute and Jundishapour University of Medical Sciences.

"We found that all people affected with mirror movements in one large family have the same DCC mutation," says senior author Guy Rouleau, a Université de Montréal professor, director of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center and a scientist at the CHUM Research Centre.

"Our study suggests that individuals with mirror movements have a reduction in the DCC gene product, which normally tells the brain cell processes to cross from one side of the brain to the other. Simply put, DCC mutations have an impact on how the brain communicates with limbs."

Discovery of the DCC mutation is significant, says Dr. Rouleau: "Our study provides important clues as to how the human brain is made. One of the mysteries in neurology is how and why the nervous system crosses -- now we have helped reveal the 'how.'"

"This work is of broad interest because, despite the large number of studies on DCC in models such as fruit flies, worms and mice, this is the first study which indicates a role for DCC in the formation of brain cell connections in humans," says Dr. Frédéric Charron, study co-author and research unit director at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal.

Sample groups from Canada and Iran

As part of the study, the research team analyzed the genes of four-generations of a French Canadian family affected by mirror movements. Another sample group included an Iranian family affected by the same condition. The genes of both families were compared to those of 538 people unaffected by mirror movements.

"Results of general and neurological examinations, as well as magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, were otherwise normal in people affected with mirror movements," explains first author Dr. Myriam Srour, a pediatric neurologist and a doctoral student at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine. "Except that people affected by mirror movements had a DCC mutation, whereas people unaffected by the condition did not."

Among study participants with mirror movements, the condition appeared during infancy or childhood and remained unchanged over time. Approximately half of participants with mirror movements were able to at least partially suppress their condition and function normally.

This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Montreal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Myriam Srour, Jean-Baptiste Rivière, Jessica M. T. Pham, Marie-Pierre Dubé, Simon Girard, Steves Morin, Patrick A. Dion, Géraldine Asselin, Daniel Rochefort, Pascale Hince, Sabrina Diab, Naser Sharafaddinzadeh, Sylvain Chouinard, Hugo Théoret, Frédéric Charron, and Guy A. Rouleau. Mutations in DCC Cause Congenital Mirror Movements. Science, 2010; 328 (5978): 592 DOI: 10.1126/science.1186463

Cite This Page:

University of Montreal. "Mirror, mirror: Scientists find cause of involuntary movements." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100429141419.htm>.
University of Montreal. (2010, April 30). Mirror, mirror: Scientists find cause of involuntary movements. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100429141419.htm
University of Montreal. "Mirror, mirror: Scientists find cause of involuntary movements." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100429141419.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins