admin June 12, 2019

Topesthesia, the recognition of tactile stimulation location on the skin, can be severely affected by neurological injuries, such as stroke. Despite topesthesia being crucial for manipulating objects and interacting with the environment during activities of daily living, deficits cannot be quantitatively captured with current clinical assessments and are, as a consequence, not well understood. The present work describes a novel automated assessment tool for tactile mislocalization in neurological patients with somatosensory deficits. We present two cases of ischemic stroke patients, describe their tactile localization deficits with the automated assessment, and compare the results to a standard manual clinical assessment. Using the automated assessment tool, it was possible to identify, locate, precisely quantify, and depict the patients’ deficits in topesthesia. In comparison, the clinical assessment was not sensitive enough and some deficits would remain undetected due to ceiling effects. In addition, an MRI structural analysis of the lesion supported the existence of somatosensory deficits. This novel and quantitative assessment may not only help to raise awareness of the implications of deficits in topesthesia, but would also allow monitoring recovery throughout the rehabilitation process, informing treatment design, and objectively evaluating treatment efficacy.

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