Thalamic astasia: Inability to stand after unilateral thalamic lesions

Joseph C. Masdeu, Philip B. Gorelick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Inability to stand in the absence of motor weakness or marked sensory loss is usually considered to reflect midline cerebellar disease. However, the 15 patients reported here had astasia related to unilateral thalamic lesions, documented by autopsy and computed tomography in 2 patients and by computed tomography in 13. The lesions, including infarction (6), hemorrhage (7), and tumor (2), involved primarily the superoposterolateral portion of the thalamus, but spared the rubral region. Alert, with normal or near-normal strength on isometric muscle testing and a variable degree of sensory loss, the patients could not stand and 7 of them could not sit up unassisted. They fell backwards or toward the side contralateral to the lesion. They appeared to have a deficit of overlearned motor activity of an axial and postural nature. In the vascular cases, the deficit improved in a few days or weeks. However, these patients had a tendency to sustain falls during the rehabilitation period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-603
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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