Apraxia

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FACTS

  • Apraxia (or dyspraxia if it is mild) is a neurological disorder characterized by loss of the ability to carry out purposeful movements and gestures, despite having the desire and the physical ability to perform them.
  • Apraxia results from impaired function of the brain hemispheres, especially the parietal lobe.
  • It can be caused by Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, stroke, brain tumor, and/or brain trauma.

TYPES

Buccofacial or orofacial apraxia

  • Inability to carry out facial movements on command, such as licking lips, whistling, coughing, or winking

Limb-kinetic apraxia

  • Inability to make fine, precise movements with an arm or leg
  • Difficulty with getting started with walking and may have a “magnetic” or shuffling walk or gait
  • Commonly seen in vascular dementia and normal pressure hydrocephalus

Ideomotor apraxia

  • Inability to make the proper movement in response to a verbal command

Ideational apraxia

  • Inability to coordinate activities with multiple, sequential movements (e.g., dressing, eating, bathing, and toileting)

Verbal apraxia

  • Difficulty coordinating mouth and speech movements

Constructional apraxia

  • Inability to copy, draw, or construct simple figures

Oculomotor apraxia

  • Difficulty moving the eyes on command

TREATMENT

  • Identify and treat the underlying cause
  • Physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy
  • Some individuals improve significantly while others may not. The underlying cause determines the prognosis. For example, apraxia from dementias tends to worsen over time.

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