Unilateral stroke results in hemiplegia or hemiparesis of the contralateral side of the body. The ipsilateral side of the body, the so-called "good" side, is often assumed to have no deficit. However, there is increasing evidence that the function of the unaffected limbs, especially the upper extremities, is different from that of normal age-matched controls. In the present study, we examined the motor control of both hands of chronic stroke subjects, 6 with left hemisphere brain damage (LHBD) and 5 with right hemisphere brain damage (RHBD). The control group consisted of 5 normal age-matched subjects. The task of the subject was to move a handle by flexing his/her fingers until the target position was reached. The target position was set as 33% of the range of each subject. No time constraints were imposed. The movements of the normal subjects were basically smooth, with few hesitations. In contrast to this, the movements of both hands in the two stroke groups were segmented and characterized by multiple starts and stops. As compared to normals, the time to reach the target, the number of pauses during the movement, and the percent of time spent in pauses, were significantly greater for both hands of the LHBD group. In the RHBD group, the percent of time spent in pauses was significantly greater than the control group for the ipsilesional hand. The increased segmentation seen in the movements of the ipsilesional, as well as the contralesional, hands of the hemiplegic subjects suggests that the motor deficits in stroke patients may be due to a global inability to correctly plan and carry out movements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Cognitive Neuroscience