Motor extinction: a deficit of attention or intention?
Punt TD., Riddoch MJ., Humphreys GW.
Motor extinction refers to a deficit of motor production on the side opposite a brain lesion that either only becomes apparent or disproportionately worsens during bilateral motor activity. It may arise due either to a contralesional deficit in setting the motor activation level (an intentional deficit) or a deficit in contralesional awareness of the sensory consequences of movement (an attentional deficit). In this study, we investigate the nature of motor extinction in a patient (LR) with a right fronto-temporal lesion through the kinematic analysis of unimanual and bimanual circle-drawing movements. While the ipsi- and contralesional limbs performed comparably for unimanual movements, the contralesional limb demonstrated marked bradykinesia and hypometria during bimanual movements. Furthermore, these deficits were not overcome when visual feedback of the contralesional limb was provided (Experiment 1). However, when performing bimanual movements in the presence of a visual template (Experiment 2), LR was able to overcome the contralesional hypometria but not the bradykinesia which proved intractable across both experiments. Both the bradykinesia and hypometria could result from an intentional deficit of motor production. However, in Experiment 2, LR also demonstrated an abnormal level of positional drift in the contralesional limb for bimanual movements indicative of an additional attentional deficit. We conclude that LR's presentation of motor extinction is the result of a primary intentional deficit and a secondary attentional deficit.