Differential Roles of Ventral and Dorsal Streams for Conceptual and Production-Related Components of Tool Use in Acute Stroke Patients

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Impaired tool use despite preserved basic motor functions occurs after stroke in the context of apraxia, a cognitive motor disorder. To elucidate the neuroanatomical underpinnings of different tool use deficits, prospective behavioral assessments of 136 acute left-hemisphere stroke patients were combined with lesion delineation on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images for voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping. Deficits affecting both the selection of the appropriate recipient for a given tool (ToolSelect, e.g., choosing the nail for the hammer), and the performance of the typical tool-associated action (ToolUse, e.g., hammering in the nail) were associated with ventro-dorsal stream lesions, particularly within inferior parietal lobule. However, ToolSelect compared with ToolUse deficits were specifically related to damage within ventral stream regions including anterior temporal lobe. Additional retrospective error dichotomization based on the videotaped performances of ToolUse revealed that spatio-temporal errors (movement errors) were mainly caused by inferior parietal damage adjacent to the intraparietal sulcus while content errors, that is, perplexity, unrecognizable, or semantically incorrect movements, resulted from lesions within supramarginal gyrus and superior temporal lobe. In summary, our results suggest that in the use of tools, conceptual and production-related aspects can be differentiated and are implemented in anatomically distinct streams.

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