Introduction: Stroke impairs motor, balance, and gait function and influences activities of daily living. Understanding the relationship between brain lesions and deficits can help clinicians set goals during rehabilitation. We sought to elucidate the neural substrates of lower extremity motor, balance, and ambulation function using voxel-based lesion symptom mapping (VLSM) in supratentorial stroke patients. Methods: We retrospectively screened patients who met the following criteria: first-ever stroke, supratentorial lesion, and available brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. MRIs of 133 stroke patients were selected for VLSM analysis. We generated statistical maps of lesions related to lower extremity motor (lower extremity Fugl-Meyer assessment, LEFM), balance (Berg Balance Scale, BBS), and gait (Functional Ambulation Category, FAC) using VLSM. Results: VLSM revealed that lower LEFM scores were associated with damage to the bilateral basal ganglia, insula, internal capsule, and subgyral white matter adjacent to the corona radiata. The lesions were more widely distributed in the left than in the right hemisphere, representing motor and praxis function necessary for performing tasks. However, no associations between lesion maps and balance and gait function were established. Conclusion: Motor impairment of the lower extremities was associated with lesions in the basal ganglia, insula, internal capsule, and white matter adjacent to the corona radiata. However, VLSM revealed no specific lesion locations with regard to balance and gait function. This might be because balance and gait are complex skills that require spatial and temporal integration of sensory input and execution of movement patterns. For more accurate prediction, factors other than lesion location need to be investigated.
- Brain mapping
- Postural balance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine