Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


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Copeland, C.; Mukherjee, M.;Wang, Y.; Fraser, K.; Zuniga, J.M. Changes in Sensorimotor Cortical Activation in Children Using Prostheses and Prosthetic Simulators. Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 991.



© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).


This study aimed to examine the neural responses of children using prostheses and prosthetic simulators to better elucidate the emulation abilities of the simulators. We utilized functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to evaluate the neural response in five children with a congenital upper limb reduction (ULR) using a body-powered prosthesis to complete a 60 s gross motor dexterity task. The ULR group was matched with five typically developing children (TD) using their non-preferred hand and a prosthetic simulator on the same hand. The ULR group had lower activation within the primary motor cortex (M1) and supplementary motor area (SMA) compared to the TD group, but nonsignificant differences in the primary somatosensory area (S1). Compared to using their non-preferred hand, the TD group exhibited significantly higher action in S1 when using the simulator, but nonsignificant differences in M1 and SMA. The non-significant differences in S1 activation between groups and the increased activation evoked by the simulator’s use may suggest rapid changes in feedback prioritization during tool use. We suggest that prosthetic simulators may elicit increased reliance on proprioceptive and tactile feedback during motor tasks. This knowledge may help to develop future prosthesis rehabilitative training or the improvement of tool-based skills.