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The nature of apraxia in corticobasal degeneration.
  1. R Leiguarda,
  2. A J Lees,
  3. M Merello,
  4. S Starkstein,
  5. C D Marsden
  1. Raúl Carrea Institute of Neurological Research, FLENI, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


    Although apraxia is one of the most frequent signs in corticobasal degeneration, the phenomenology of this disorder has not been formally examined. Hence 10 patients with corticobasal degeneration were studied with a standardised evaluation for different types of apraxia. To minimise the confounding effects of the primary motor disorder, apraxia was assessed in the least affected limb. Whereas none of the patients showed buccofacial apraxia, seven showed deficits on tests of ideomotor apraxia and movement imitation, four on tests of sequential arm movements (all of whom had ideomotor apraxia), and three on tests of ideational apraxia (all of whom had ideomotor apraxia). Ideomotor apraxia significantly correlated with deficit in both the mini mental state examination and in a task sensitive to frontal lobe dysfunction (picture arrangement). Two of the three patients with ideomotor apraxia and ideational apraxia showed severe cognitive impairments. The alien limb behaviour was present only in patients with ideomotor apraxia. In conclusion, ideomotor apraxia is the most frequent type of apraxia in corticobasal degeneration, and may be due to dysfunction of the supplementary motor area. There is a subgroup of patients with corticobasal degeneration who have a severe apraxia (ideomotor and ideational apraxia), which correlates with global cognitive impairment, and may result from additional parietal or diffuse cortical damage.

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