Is unilateral spatial neglect a single phenomenon?
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The aim of this study is to report the preliminary findings of a traditional battery of tests and our original battery capable of assessing the presence of components and extent of lesions in patients with unilateral spatial neglect. Thirty patients who had unilateral spatial neglect with a stroke in the right hemisphere were assessed for unilateral spatial neglect on exploratory-motor (E-M) tasks, visual-counting (V-C) tasks, and traditional neglect batteries at least 4 weeks after the onset. Other neuropsychological tests and computed tomography were also performed to investigate the relationship with neglect. A factor analysis showed that our tasks loaded significantly on three factors. E-M neglect was found in 16 patients, and V-C neglect in 22 patients with unilateral spatial neglect. There were high correlations between E-M neglect and motor paralysis, word fluency, backward digit span and motor impersistence. There were high correlations between V-C neglect and visual-field defect, line bisection, line cancellation and figure copying. Lesions in the frontal lobe, caudate, insula, and anterior portion of the paraventricular white matter were commonly associated with E-M neglect. Lesions in the occipital lobe were also associated with V-C neglect. We suggest that unilateral neglect is not a single phenomenon, but rather involves several different components. We propose that E-M and V-C tasks are useful methods for evaluating the extent of lesions in patients with unilateral spatial neglect.
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