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Clinical Medicine Insights: Case Reports

Distinguishing Motor Weakness From Impaired Spatial Awareness: A Helping Hand!

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Clinical Medicine Insights: Case Reports 2017:10 1179547617709462

Case report

Published on 15 May 2017

DOI: 10.1177/1179547617709462


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Abstract

Our patient, aged 73 years, had background peripheral neuropathy of unknown cause, stable for several years, which caused some difficulty in walking on uneven ground. He attended for a teaching session but now staggered in, a new development. He had apparent weakness of his right arm, but there was difficulty in distinguishing motor weakness from impaired spatial awareness suggestive of parietal lobe dysfunction. With the patient seated, eyes closed, and left arm outstretched, S.A.R. lifted the patient’s right arm and asked him to indicate when both were level. This confirmed motor weakness. Urgent computed tomographic scan confirmed left subdural haematoma and its urgent evacuation rapidly resolved the patient’s symptoms. Intrigued by our patient’s case, we explored further and learnt that in rehabilitation medicine, the awareness of limb position is commonly viewed in terms of joint position sense. We present recent literature evidence indicating that the underlying mechanisms are more subtle.



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