Dissociation of anosognosia for hemiplegia and aphasia during left-hemisphere anesthesia

Neurology. 1995 Jan;45(1):65-7. doi: 10.1212/wnl.45.1.65.


The stroke literature indicates that the explicit denial of hemiplegia, a form of anosognosia, is associated more commonly with right- than left-hemisphere lesions. Some investigators have suggested that this asymmetry may be an artifact and that the aphasia that often accompanies left-hemisphere dysfunction may mask some instances of anosognosia. Mechanisms suggested for anosognosia have been either "global" or "modular" in nature. Mechanisms posited in global explanations include psychological denial and general mental deterioration; modular explanations include feedback and feedforward theories. Videotapes of 54 patients with medically intractable seizures who had selective barbiturate anesthesia (Wada test) as part of their evaluation for seizure surgery were assessed for anosognosia of hemiplegia and aphasia after hemispheric anesthesia had worn off. The results suggest that, although aphasia may confound the reported rate of anosognosia for hemiplegia following left-hemisphere dysfunction, the frequency of anosognosia for hemiplegia is still higher with right- than left-side dysfunction. Anosognosia for hemiplegia and aphasia were dissociable, providing support for the postulate that awareness of dysfunction is mediated by a modular system.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anesthesia
  • Aphasia / physiopathology*
  • Awareness*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methohexital / pharmacology*
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Seizures / surgery
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Videotape Recording


  • Methohexital