The Role of White Matter Disconnection in the Symptoms Relating to the Anarchic Hand Syndrome: A Single Case Study

Brain Sci. 2021 May 14;11(5):632. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11050632.


The anarchic hand syndrome refers to an inability to control the movements of one's own hand, which acts as if it has a will of its own. The symptoms may differ depending on whether the brain lesion is anterior, posterior, callosal or subcortical, but the relative classifications are not conclusive. This study investigates the role of white matter disconnections in a patient whose symptoms are inconsistent with the mapping of the lesion site. A repeated neuropsychological investigation was associated with a review of the literature on the topic to identify the frequency of various different symptoms relating to this syndrome. Furthermore, an analysis of the neuroimaging regarding structural connectivity allowed us to investigate the grey matter lesions and white matter disconnections. The results indicated that some of the patient's symptoms were associated with structures that, although not directly damaged, were dysfunctional due to a disconnection in their networks. This suggests that the anarchic hand may be considered as a disconnection syndrome involving the integration of multiple antero-posterior, insular and interhemispheric networks. In order to comprehend this rare syndrome better, the clinical and neuroimaging data need to be integrated with the clinical reports available in the literature on this topic.

Keywords: DTI; anarchic hand syndrome; lesion mapping; posterior lesions; sense of agency; white matter disconnection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports