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Brain. 2013 Aug;136(Pt 8):2592-601. doi: 10.1093/brain/awt181. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

Apraxia in left-handers.

Author information

1
Department of Neuropsychology, Bogenhausen Hospital, Munich, Germany. Georg.Goldenberg@extern.lrz-muenchen.de

Abstract

In typical right-handed patients both apraxia and aphasia are caused by damage to the left hemisphere, which also controls the dominant right hand. In left-handed subjects the lateralities of language and of control of the dominant hand can dissociate. This permits disentangling the association of apraxia with aphasia from that with handedness. Pantomime of tool use, actual tool use and imitation of meaningless hand and finger postures were examined in 50 consecutive left-handed subjects with unilateral hemisphere lesions. There were three aphasic patients with pervasive apraxia caused by left-sided lesions. As the dominant hand is controlled by the right hemisphere, they constitute dissociations of apraxia from handedness. Conversely there were also three patients with pervasive apraxia caused by right brain lesions without aphasia. They constitute dissociations of apraxia from aphasia. Across the whole group of patients dissociations from handedness and from aphasia were observed for all manifestations of apraxia, but their frequency depended on the type of apraxia. Defective pantomime and defective tool use occurred rarely without aphasia, whereas defective imitation of hand, but not finger, postures was more frequent after right than left brain damage. The higher incidence of defective imitation of hand postures in right brain damage was mainly due to patients who had also hemi-neglect. This interaction alerts to the possibility that the association of right hemisphere damage with apraxia has to do with spatial aptitudes of the right hemisphere rather than with its control of the dominant left hand. Comparison with data from right-handed patients showed no differences between the severity of apraxia for imitation of hand or finger postures, but impairment on pantomime of tool use was milder in apraxic left-handers than in apraxic right-handers. This alleviation of the severity of apraxia corresponded with a similar alleviation of the severity of aphasia as manifested by a lower proportion of left-handed patients with global aphasia.

KEYWORDS:

apraxia; handedness; imitation; pantomime; spatial processing; tool use

PMID:
23864275
DOI:
10.1093/brain/awt181
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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