Could a mirror be the key to recovering from a stroke?

A Japanese researcher says using a mirror to create the illusion that a person's paralyzed limb moves in tandem with a healthy one appears to speed recovery from stroke, Reuters reported.

Speaking at the World Stroke Conference in Vienna, Kazu Amimoto of Tokyo Metropolitan University said the optical illusion works faster than conventional treatment. He said it also suggests the mind plays a powerful role in the body's recovery.

"The mental aspect of rehabilitation has far greater importance than previously understood and should be paid far more attention," Amimoto said in a statement.

In the United States, stroke is the third leading cause of death and is the leading cause of serious long-term disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 700,000 strokes occur in the U.S. each year, the CDC said on its Web site.

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