The Cerebellum

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 427–437

Proprioceptive Localization Deficits in People With Cerebellar Damage

  • Heidi M. Weeks
  • Amanda S. Therrien
  • Amy J. Bastian
Original Paper

Abstract

It has been hypothesized that an important function of the cerebellum is predicting the state of the body during movement. Yet, the extent of cerebellar involvement in perception of limb state (i.e., proprioception, specifically limb position sense) has yet to be determined. Here, we investigated whether patients with cerebellar damage have deficits when trying to locate their hand in space (i.e., proprioceptive localization), which is highly important for everyday movements. By comparing performance during passive robot-controlled and active self-made multi-joint movements, we were able to determine that some cerebellar patients show improved precision during active movement (i.e., active benefit), comparable to controls, whereas other patients have reduced active benefit. Importantly, the differences in patient performance are not explained by patient diagnosis or clinical ratings of impairment. Furthermore, a subsequent experiment confirmed that active deficits in proprioceptive localization occur during both single-joint and multi-joint movements. As such, it is unlikely that localization deficits can be explained by the multi-joint coordination deficits occurring after cerebellar damage. Our results suggest that cerebellar damage may cause varied impairments to different elements of proprioceptive sense. It follows that proprioceptive localization should be adequately accounted for in clinical testing and rehabilitation of people with cerebellar damage.

Keywords

Proprioception Upper extremity Cerebellum Ataxia 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi M. Weeks
    • 1
    • 2
  • Amanda S. Therrien
    • 2
    • 3
  • Amy J. Bastian
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringThe Johns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Kennedy Krieger InstituteBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeuroscienceThe Johns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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