Reduced Awareness for Apraxic Deficits in Left Hemisphere Stroke

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Abstract

Objective: Reduced awareness for motor or cognitive impairments has mainly been studied in relation to right-hemispheric deficits such as left-sided hemiparesis. However, recent studies suggest that also left hemisphere (LH) stroke can lead to reduced awareness for neurological/neuropsychological deficits, for example, aphasia. The aim of the current study was to characterize reduced awareness for apraxic as well as aphasic deficits in patients suffering from LH stroke. Method: After the assessment of apraxia and aphasia, patients (n = 32) were asked to rate their performance on a 1- to 5-point rating scale. An unawareness score (UAS) was computed as the difference between the examiners’ ratings and self-ratings, resulting in negative scores for patients who overestimated their performance in a given assessment, that is, exhibited reduced awareness for their stroke-related deficits. Results: Patients with apraxia (n = 14) and aphasia (n = 16) significantly overestimated their performance in the respective assessment. However, the level of awareness was not generally related to the severity of apraxia, and there were no group differences in other variables between patients with full (n = 7) and reduced awareness (n = 7) for apraxic deficits. The reduction of awareness for apraxic deficits did not differ significantly for buccofacial versus limb gestures. Conclusion: Data show that LH stroke can lead to reduced awareness not only for aphasic deficits but also for buccofacial and limb apraxia.

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