Author(s): Hamada E, Okamoto K, Okuda B
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Abstract A 41-year-old, right-handed man was admitted to our hospital on September 12, 2002, due to progressive clumsiness in both hands. The patient had been diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis three years prior to admission. He noticed difficulty in manipulating objects three months before admission. Cervical T2-weighted MRI showed a high signal intensity at the level of C3-4 which was enhanced on T1-weighted image with gadolinium. On admission, neurological examinations revealed impairment of dexterity, deep sensory disturbance, and astereognosis in both hands. The clumsiness of complex finger movements was predominant on the left side, and was exaggerated with the eyes closed in association with pseudoathetosis. After steroid therapy, his clumsy hands improved gradually. This type of clumsiness in multiple sclerosis had been described as useless hand syndrome by Oppenheim. In accordance with our case, useless hand syndrome has been reported to arise from high cervical (C2-4) lesions, mainly involving the posterior cord ipsilateral to the clumsy hand. Although the majority of reported cases with useless hand syndrome had other neurological complications, such as hemiparesis, tetraparesis, and truncal ataxia, our patient exhibited a pure form of useless hand syndrome. In addition, useless hand syndrome is usually unilateral, and bilateral useless hand syndrome is very rare. Clumsiness of fine finger movements with astereognosis in our patient is similar to numb clumsy hands or limb-kinetic apraxia due to cervical spondylosis or postcentral gyrus lesion, respectively. This indicates an important role of the high cervical posterior cord in conveying a kinesthetic sense necessary to guide fine finger movements. It should be kept in mind that high cervical lesions in multiple sclerosis causes clumsy hands mimicking limb-kinetic apraxia.
This article was published in Rinsho Shinkeigaku
and referenced in Journal of Multiple Sclerosis