The effect of left fronto-parietal resections on hand selection: a lesion-tractography study
. 2019-12-12; :
Strong right-hand preference on the population level is a uniquely human feature, although the neural basis for this is still not clearly defined. Recent behavioural and neuroimaging literature suggests that hand preference may be related to the orchestrated function and size of fronto-parietal white matter tracts bilaterally. Lesions to these tracts induced during tumour resection may provide an opportunity to test this hypothesis. In the present study, a cohort of seventeen neurosurgical patients with left hemisphere brain tumours were recruited to investigate whether resection of certain white matter tracts affects the choice of hand selected for the execution of a goal-directed task (assembly of jigsaw puzzles). Patients performed the puzzles, but also tests for basic motor ability, selective attention and visuo-constructional ability, preoperatively and one month after surgery. Diffusion tractography of fronto-parietal tracts (the superior longitudinal fasciculus) and the corticospinal tract were performed, to evaluate whether resection of tracts was significantly associated with changes in hand selection. A complementary atlas-based disconnectome analysis was also conducted. Results showed a shift in hand selection despite the absence of any motor or cognitive deficits, which was significantly associated with patients with frontal and parietal resections, compared with those with resections in other lobes. In particular, this effect was significantly associated with the resection of dorsal fronto-parietal white matter connections, but not with the ventral fronto-parietal tract. Dorsal white matter pathways contribute bilaterally, with specific lateralised competencies, to control of goal-directed hand movements. We show that unilateral lesions, by unbalancing the cooperation of the two hemispheres, can alter the choice of hand selected to accomplish movements.