Callosal apraxia: a 34-year follow-up study.


Loss of ability of the left upper limb (LUL) to correctly produce spatial and temporal components of skilled purposeful movements was reported 34 years ago in a woman with a callosal infarction. To learn about recovery, we recently reexamined this woman. This woman was tested for ideomotor apraxia by asking her to pantomime to command and to seeing pictures of tools. Whereas she performed normally with her right upper limb, her LUL remained severely apraxic, making many spatial (postural and movement) errors. Initially, she did not reveal loss of finger-hand deftness (limb-kinetic apraxia), and when tested again with the coin rotation task, her left hand performance was normal. Without vision, she could name objects placed in her left hand but not name numbers written in this hand. Since this woman had a callosal lesion, failure to recover cannot be accounted for by left hemisphere inhibition of her right hemisphere. Although failure for her LUL to improve may have been related to not using her LUL for skilled actions, her right hemisphere was able to observe transitive actions, and this failure of her LUL to produce skilled purposeful movements suggests her right hemisphere may have not had the capacity to learn these movement representations. Without vision, her ability to recognize objects with her left hand, but not numbers written on her left palm, suggests graphesthesia may require that her left hand did not have access to movement representations important for programming these numbers when writing.