Hemispheric specialization and functional impact of ipsilesional deficits in movement coordination and accuracy

Sydney Y. Schaefer, Kathleen Y. Haaland, Robert L. Sainburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


Previous studies have demonstrated that following unilateral stroke, motor impairment occurs both contralateral, as well as ipsilateral, to the lesion. Although ipsilesional impairments can be functionally limiting, they can also provide important insight into the role of the ipsilateral hemisphere in controlling movement and the lateralization of specific motor control mechanisms, given that unilateral arm movements are thought to recruit processes in each hemisphere. The purpose of this study was to examine whether left and right hemisphere damage following stroke produces different ipsilesional deficits, and whether our dynamic dominance model of motor lateralization can predict such deficits. Specifically, the dynamic dominance model attributes control of multijoint dynamics to the left hemisphere, and control of steady-state position to the right hemisphere. Chronic stroke patients with either left or right hemisphere damage (LHD or RHD) used their ipsilesional arm, and the control subjects used either their left or right arm (LHC or RHC), to perform targeted reaching movements in different directions within the workspace ipsilateral to their reaching arm. We found that the LHD group showed deficits in controlling the arm's trajectory due to impaired multijoint coordination, but no deficits in achieving accurate final positions. In contrast, the RHD group showed deficits in final position accuracy but not in the ability to coordinate multiple joints during movement, thereby providing additional evidence for the hemisphere-specific nature of motor deficits. Furthermore, while both the LHD and RHD groups were functionally impaired to the same degree on the Jebsen Hand Function Test (JHFT), our results suggest that the underlying mechanisms for such impairment may be hemisphere-dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2953-2966
Number of pages14
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Lateralization
  • Motor control
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Hemispheric specialization and functional impact of ipsilesional deficits in movement coordination and accuracy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this