The impact of unilateral brain damage on anticipatory grip force scaling when lifting everyday objects

S. Eidenmüller, J. Randerath, G. Goldenberg, Y. Li, J. Hermsdörfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The scaling of our finger forces according to the properties of manipulated objects is an elementary prerequisite of skilled motor behavior. Lesions of the motor-dominant left brain may impair several aspects of motor planning. For example, limb-apraxia, a tool-use disorder after left brain damage is thought to be caused by deficient recall or integration of tool-use knowledge into an action plan. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether left brain damage affects anticipatory force scaling when lifting everyday objects. We examined 26 stroke patients with unilateral brain damage (16 with left brain damage, ten with right brain damage) and 21 healthy control subjects. Limb apraxia was assessed by testing pantomime of familiar tool-use and imitation of meaningless hand postures. Participants grasped and lifted twelve randomly presented everyday objects. Grip force was measured with help of sensors fixed on thumb, index and middle-finger. The maximum rate of grip force was determined to quantify the precision of anticipation of object properties. Regression analysis yielded clear deficits of anticipation in the group of patients with left brain damage, while the comparison of patient with right brain damage with their respective control group did not reveal comparable deficits. Lesion-analyses indicate that brain structures typically associated with a tool-use network in the left hemisphere play an essential role for anticipatory grip force scaling, especially the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the premotor cortex (PMC). Furthermore, significant correlations of impaired anticipation with limb apraxia scores suggest shared representations. However, the presence of dissociations, implicates also independent processes.Overall, our findings suggest that the left hemisphere is engaged in anticipatory grip force scaling for lifting everyday objects. The underlying neural substrate is not restricted to a single region or stream; instead it may rely on the intact functioning of a left hemisphere network that may overlap with the left hemisphere dominant tool-use network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-234
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Anticipation
  • Apraxia
  • Grasping and lifting
  • Grip force
  • Hemisphere differences
  • Internal model
  • Sensorimotor control
  • Tool use


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