Functional Plasticity in the Absence of Structural Change: Apraxia and Body Scheme Disorder 10 Years After Childhood Brain Injury

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This work presents a case of a young woman with apraxia and a severe body scheme disorder, 10 years after a childhood frontal and occipitoparietal brain injury. Despite specific limitations, she is independent in performing all activities of daily living. A battery of tests was administered to evaluate praxis and body representations. Specifically, the Hand Laterality Test was used to compare RS’s dynamic body representation to that of healthy controls (N = 14). Results demonstrated RS’s severe praxis impairment, and the Hand Laterality Test revealed deficits in accuracy and latency of motor imagery, suggesting a significant impairment in dynamic body representation. However, semantic and structural body representations were intact. These results, coupled with frequent use of verbalizations as a strategy, suggest a possible ventral compensatory mechanism (top-down processing) for dorsal stream deficits, which may explain RS’s remarkable recovery of activities of daily living. The link between praxis and dynamic body representation is discussed.

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