Apraxia differs in corticobasal degeneration and left-parietal stroke: A case study

Academic Article


  • Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) is a progressive disorder characterized by both cortical and basal ganglia dysfunction such as asymmetrical apraxia, and akinetic rigidity, involuntary movements, and cortical sensory loss. Although apraxia is a key finding for the differential diagnosis of CBD, it has not been determined whether the features of apraxia seen in subjects with CBD are similar to those features exhibited by subjects with left-hemisphere damage from stroke. Therefore, for both clinical purposes and in order to better understand the brain mechanisms that lead to apraxia in CBD, we studied praxis in a patient with CBD and compared him to patients who are apraxic from left-parietal strokes. We used three-dimensional movement analyses to compare the features of apraxic movement. This subject with CBD was a dentist whose initial complaint had been that he 'forgot' how to use his tools in the mouths of his patients. Analyses were performed on the trajectories made when using a knife to actually slice bread, and when repetitively gesturing slicing made to verbal command. Movements of the left hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder were digitized in 3-D space. Although the CBD subject was clearly apraxic, the features of his apraxia differed markedly from those of the subjects with lesions in the left parietal lobe. For movements to command, the CBD subject showed joint coordination deficits, but his wrist trajectories were produced in the appropriate spatial plane, were correctly restricted to a single plane, and, like control subjects, were linear in path shape. However, when he was actually manipulating the tool and object, all of these aspects of his trajectories became impaired. In contrast, the deficits of the apraxic subjects with left-parietal damage were most pronounced to verbal command with their movements improving slightly although remaining impaired during actual tool and object manipulation. Unlike patients with parietal strokes, patients with CBD have degeneration in several systems and perhaps deficits in these other areas may account for the differences in praxic behavior.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Merians AS; Clark M; Poizner H; Jacobs DH; Adair JC; Macauley B; Gonzalez Rothi LJ; Heilman KM
  • Start Page

  • 314
  • End Page

  • 335
  • Volume

  • 40
  • Issue

  • 2