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Ecological implications of limb apraxia: Evidence from mealtime behavior

  • Anne L. Foundas (a1) (a2), Beth L. Macauley (a3), Anastasia M. Raymer (a3), Lynn M. Maher (a3), Kenneth M. Heilman (a3) (a4) and Leslie J. Gonzalez Rothi (a4) (a5)...

Abstract

Humans learn skilled acts in order to effectively interact with their environment. A loss of the ability to perform skilled acts is termed apraxia. Apraxia has been thought to be of theoretical interest, but the ecological implications of apraxia are controversial and have not been fully studied. We examined ten patients with unilateral left hemisphere cerebral infarctions (eight of whom were apraxic) and compared their mealtime eating behavior to a group of neurologically normal, age-matched controls. The stroke patients were less efficient in completing the meal. They made more action errors and were less organized in the sequencing of mealtime activities. Because the patients made more errors while using tools than when performing nontool actions, their deficit could not be accounted for by an elemental motor deficit. A positive relationship was found between mealtime action errors and the severity of apraxia. These findings suggest that limb apraxia may adversely influence activities of daily living. (JINS, 1995, I, 62–66.)

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