Chronic forced use of the non-dominant left hand yields substantial improvements in the precision and quality of writing and drawing. These changes may arise from increased access by the non-dominant (right) hemisphere to dominant (left) hemisphere mechanisms specialized for end-point precision control. To evaluate this prediction, 22 healthy right-handed adults underwent resting state functional connectivity (FC) MRI scans before and after 10 days of training on a left hand precision drawing task. 89% of participants significantly improved left hand speed, accuracy, and smoothness. Smoothness gains were specific to the trained left hand and persistent: 6 months after training, 71% of participants exhibited above-baseline movement smoothness. Contrary to expectations, we found no evidence of increased FC between right and left hemisphere hand areas. Instead, training-related improvements in left hand movement smoothness were associated with increased FC between both sensorimotor hand areas and a left-lateralized parieto-prefrontal network implicated in manual praxis. By contrast, skill retention at 6 months was predicted by changes including decreased FC between the representation of the trained left hand and bilateral sensorimotor, parietal, and premotor cortices, possibly reflecting consolidation and a disengagement of early learning processes. These data indicate that modest amounts of training (<200 min total) can induce substantial, persistent improvements the precision and quality of non-dominant hand control in healthy adults, supported by strengthened connectivity between bilateral sensorimotor hand areas and a left-lateralized parieto-prefrontal praxis network.
|Number of pages||12|
|State||Published - Jul 1 2016|
- Laterality of motor control