Left hemisphere damage produces deficits in predictive control of bilateral coordination

Jacob E. Schaffer, Candice Maenza, David C. Good, Andrzej Przybyla, Robert L. Sainburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Previous research has demonstrated hemisphere-specific motor deficits in ipsilesional and contralesional unimanual movements in patients with hemiparetic stroke due to MCA infarct. Due to the importance of bilateral motor actions on activities of daily living, we now examine how bilateral coordination may be differentially affected by right or left hemisphere stroke. To avoid the caveat of simply adding unimanual deficits in assessing bimanual coordination, we designed a unique task that requires spatiotemporal coordination features that do not exist in unimanual movements. Participants with unilateral left (LHD) or right hemisphere damage (RHD) and age-matched controls moved a virtual rectangle (bar) from a midline start position to a midline target. Movement along the long axis of the bar was redundant to the task, such that the bar remained in the center of and parallel to an imaginary line connecting each hand. Thus, to maintain midline position of the bar, movements of one hand closer to or further away from the bar midline required simultaneous, but oppositely directed displacements with the other hand. Our findings indicate that left (LHD), but not right (RHD) hemisphere-damaged patients showed poor interlimb coordination, reflected by significantly lower correlations between displacements of each hand along the bar axis. These left hemisphere-specific deficits were only apparent prior to peak velocity, likely reflecting predictive control of interlimb coordination. In contrast, the RHD group bilateral coordination was not significantly different than that of the control group. We conclude that predictive mechanisms that govern bilateral coordination are dependent on left hemisphere mechanisms. These findings indicate that assessment and training in cooperative bimanual tasks should be considered as part of an intervention framework for post-stroke physical rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2733-2744
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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