Gestural imitation and limb apraxia in corticobasal degeneration

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Limb apraxia is a common symptom of corticobasal degeneration (CBD). While previous research has shown that individuals with CBD have difficulty imitating transitive (tool-use actions) and intransitive non-representational gestures (nonsense actions), intransitive representational gestures (actions without a tool) have not been examined. In the current study, eight individuals with CBD and eight age-matched healthy adults performed transitive, intransitive representational and intransitive non-representational gestures to imitation. The results indicated that compared to controls, individuals with CBD were significantly less accurate in the imitation of transitive and intransitive non-representational gestures but showed no deficits for the imitation of intransitive representational gestures. This advantage for intransitive representational gestures was thought to be due to fewer demands being placed on the analysis of visual-gestural information or the translation of this information into movement when imitating these gestures. These findings speak to the importance of context and the representation of gestures in memory in gesture performance.

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