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Involuntary hand levitation associated with parietal damage: another alien hand syndrome

Author(s): Carrilho Paulo E.M. | Caramelli Paulo | Cardoso Francisco | Barbosa Egberto Reis | Buchpiguel Carlos A. | Nitrini Ricardo

Journal: Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria
ISSN 0004-282X

Volume: 59;
Issue: 3A;
Start page: 521;
Date: 2001;
Original page

Keywords: alien hand syndrome | parietal lobe | Alzheimer's disease | cortico-basal ganglionic degeneration

The alien hand syndrome (AHS) usually consists of an autonomous motor activity perceived as an involuntary and purposeful movement, with a feeling of foreignness of the involved limb, commonly associated with a failure to recognise ownership of the limb in the absence of visual clues. It has been described in association to lesions of the frontal lobes and corpus callosum. However, parietal damage can promote an involuntary, but purposeless, hand levitation, which, sometimes, resembles AHS. In the present study, four patients (cortico-basal ganglionic degeneration -- n=2; Alzheimer's disease -- n=1 and parietal stroke -- n=1) who developed alien hand motor behaviour and whose CT, MRI and/or SPECT have disclosed a major contralateral parietal damage or dysfunction are described. These results reinforce the idea that parietal lobe lesions may also play a role in some patients with purposeless involuntary limb levitation, which is different from the classic forms of AHS.
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