Apraxia, mechanical problem solving and semantic knowledge: contributions to object usage in corticobasal degeneration

Josef Spatt, Thomas Bak, Sasha Bozeat, Karalyn Patterson, John R Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

To investigate the nature of the apraxia in corticobasal degeneration (CBD) five patients with CBD and five matched controls were compared on tests of: i) meaningless and symbolic gesture production, ii) a battery of semantic tasks based on 20 everyday items (involving naming and picture-picture matching according to semantic attributes, matching gestures-to-objects, object usage from name and with the real object) and iii) a novel tool test of mechanical problem solving. All five patients showed severe impairment in the production of meaningless and symbolic gestures from command, and by imitation, and were also impaired when using real objects. Deficits were not, however, restricted to action production: four were unable to match gestures to objects and all five showed impairment in the selection and usage of novel tools in the mechanical problem solving task. Surprising was the finding of an additional semantic knowledge breakdown in three cases, two of whom were markedly anomic. The apraxia in CBD is, therefore, multifactorial. There is profound breakdown in the organisation and co-ordination of motor programming. In addition, patients show central deficits in action knowledge and mechanical problem solving, which has been linked to parietal lobe pathology. General semantic memory may also be affected in CBD in some cases and this may then contribute to impaired object usage. This combination of more than one deficit relevant for object use may explain why CBD patients are far more disabled by their dyspraxia in everyday life than any other patient group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Apraxias
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Problem Solving
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Verbal Behavior


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