Journal Article

Impairments of trunk movements following left or right hemisphere lesions: dissociation between apraxic errors and postural instability

Lucia Spinazzola, Roberto Cubelli and Sergio Della Sala

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 126, issue 12, pages 2656-2666
Published in print December 2003 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online December 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awg266
Impairments of trunk movements following left or right hemisphere lesions: dissociation between apraxic errors and postural instability

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Stroke patients present with apraxic or postural deficits involving trunk movements. Praxis and posture control have been associated with the functions of the left and the right hemisphere, respectively. For the first time, in this study the occurrence of apraxic and postural components in trunk movement deficits following right and left hemisphere lesions were investigated in the same participants. Twenty‐three patients with left (L/pt), 12 with right (R/pt) hemisphere lesion, and 30 healthy controls were evaluated with a 21‐item test assessing the imitation of meaningless, symbolic and reaching movements presented twice on visual or proprioceptive modality. Erroneous, motor responses of the trunk were classified as postural (compensations to overcome stability or asymmetry deficits) or apraxic (execution errors not due to biomechanical constraints). Postural instability reactions were significantly more frequent among the R/pts, whilst apraxic responses were overwhelming within the L/pts. The findings are consistent with the view that the left hemisphere is dominant for praxis and suggest that this dominance be extended to trunk praxis. The results also support the hypothesis that trunk postures are coded in relation to the environment by a representational system. A widespread network, mainly sitting in the right hemisphere, subserves this postural system. The distinction between praxic and postural deficits in executing trunk movements should be kept in mind when evaluating trunk movement difficulties shown by stroke patients, in following up their recovery or when tailoring rehabilitation programmes.

Keywords: Keywords: stroke; apraxia; posture; trunk; Abbreviations: L/pt = left hemisphere lesion patient; R/pt = right hemisphere lesion patient

Journal Article.  7792 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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