Mirror movement syndrome is an inherited neurological disorder that manifests as involuntary movements from an early age, primarily in the hands and arms. In affected people, the right hand spontaneously reproduces the movements of the left hand, and vice versa.
The disorder can also affect the lower limbs, but to a lesser extent.
This makes people much less talented than averagesaid Professor Frédéric Charon, who heads the molecular biology of the Neurodevelopmental Research Unit at the Montreal Institute of Medical Research.
” For example, if we think of playing billiards, one hand must not move at all, the other hand must wave, and all kinds of movements do not go well. »
It is common knowledge that the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. In a pictorial way, mirror movement syndrome occurs when the electrical wire that goes from one side of the brain to the other side of the body splits and goes to the wrong side, causing these involuntary movements.
Professor Charon, Montreal Children’s Hospital Dr. Miriam Schroer and researchers Sabrina Schlinger and Patricia Yam have identified a new gene and a new mechanism responsible for this dysregulation.
They were able to reproduce the problem in the lab in genetically modified mice. Professor Saron said these mice, who struggle to move normally, can do so easily when asked to walk up a ladder, for example.
The severity of the problem varies from person to person, but it’s easy to imagine that the disorder can greatly interfere with sufferers’ daily lives – from dressing to sports training – and can cause arm pain during prolonged activities. For example, the patient may hold the table with his left hand to prevent movement while signing with his right hand.
Constantly making this effort becomes unbearable for them at some pointProfessor Sharon said.
Mirror movement syndrome is a rare disease, but its incidence is slightly higher in Quebec, possibly due to a founder effect. The new results also stem from a study of a family spanning four generations.
Identifying the genes involved in the syndrome is an important first step in promoting the rapid and efficient establishment of diagnoses. Patients with a rare disease, Professor Sharon reminded, may have to wait a long time before receiving a diagnosis.
It’s stressful for them to say that we don’t know exactly what they havehe said.
But it gives them a certain inner peace to have a diagnosis, to hear that they have a mutation that they know is causing the mirror movements, that their condition is the same, it’s not neurodegenerative.
The discovery of this mutation could one day lead to the development of new treatments that could correct the problem before birth. But motility syndrome is not a fatal diseaseProfessor Charron underlined,
It must be ensured that the effects of the intervention do not outweigh the problem.