Brain networks of visuospatial attention and their disruption in visual neglect
Front. Hum. Neurosci.. 2012-01-01; 6:
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1. Front Hum Neurosci. 2012 May 4;6:110. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00110. eCollection
Brain networks of visuospatial attention and their disruption in visual neglect.
Bartolomeo P(1), Thiebaut de Schotten M, Chica AB.
(1)INSERM – UPMC UMRS 975, Brain and Spine Institute, Groupe Hospitalier
Pitié-Salpêtrière Paris, France.
Visual neglect is a multi-component syndrome including prominent attentional
disorders. Research on the functional mechanisms of neglect is now moving from
the description of dissociations in patients’ performance to the identification
of the possible component deficits and of their interaction with compensatory
strategies. In recent years, the dissection of attentional deficits in neglect
has progressed in parallel with increasing comprehension of the anatomy and
function of large-scale brain networks implicated in attentional processes. This
review focuses on the anatomy and putative functions of attentional circuits in
the brain, mainly subserved by fronto-parietal networks, with a peculiar although
not yet completely elucidated role for the right hemisphere. Recent results are
discussed concerning the influence of a non-spatial attentional function, phasic
alertness, on conscious perception in normal participants and on conflict
resolution in neglect patients. The rapid rate of expansion of our knowledge of
these systems raises hopes for the development of effective strategies to improve
the functioning of the attentional networks in brain-damaged patients.