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Lateralised motor control: hemispheric damage and the loss of deftness
  1. B Hanna-Pladdy1,
  2. J E Mendoza2,
  3. G T Apostolos2,
  4. K M Heilman1
  1. 1Department of Neurology, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA
  2. 2Mental Health Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New Orleans, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr B Hanna-Pladdy, Department of Neurology, University of Florida Health Science Center, Box 100236 UFBI, Gainesville FL 32610–0236 USA;


Objective: To learn if the left compared with the right hemisphere of right handed subjects exerts bilateral compared with contralateral motor control when performing precise and coordinated finger movements.

Methods: The study investigated intertask differences of manual motor asymmetries such as speed, precision, and independent finger movements, in patients with unilateral lesions of the left (LHD) or right hemisphere (RHD) and normal controls (C).

Results: Normal subjects showed the greatest right hand preference on a task that required rapid coordinated and precise independent finger movements (coin rotation). Both hemisphere damaged groups revealed contralateral motor deficits, but the magnitudes of asymmetries were found to be significantly different (RHD>C>LHD) with contralateral and ipsilateral deficits for LHD subjects. The greatest ipsilateral deficits for the LHD subjects were on those tasks that require precision (grooved pegboard and coin rotation).

Conclusions: The degree of hemispheric specialisation is, in part, dependent upon the nature of the motor task, with left hemisphere motor control necessary for tasks that require precision and coordinated independent finger movements.

  • motor asymmetry
  • ipsilateral
  • motor control
  • task complexity
  • coin rotation

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  • Competing interests: none declared.