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Functional neuroanatomy of spatial cognition and neglect syndrome after stroke

English title Functional neuroanatomy of spatial cognition and neglect syndrome after stroke
Applicant Vuilleumier Patrik
Number 114014
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Dépt des Neurosciences Fondamentales Faculté de Médecine Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Start/End 01.10.2006 - 31.12.2009
Approved amount 335'000.00
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Keywords (6)

neuropsychology; brain damage; stroke; spatial perception; spatial neglect ; brain mapping

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Unilateral spatial neglect (USN) is a frequent and disabling after focal right hemispheric brain lesions in humans, such as stroke. This syndrome is characterized by striking clinical deficits in detecting, exploring, and/or directing attention to stimuli on the side of space opposite to the brain lesion. Damage may affect many different cortical and subcortical regions in the right hemisphere, particularly in parietal and frontal lobe, which are known to be implicated in spatial cognition and attentional functions, but the exact mechanisms underlying the syndrome remains unknown. Work conducted in our laboratory ( aims at identifying the impact of different site of lesions on different components of spatial neglect, by combining behavioral neuropsychological tests with functional and structural brain imaging techniques, such as fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and DTI (diffusion tensor imaging). Our current studies focus on the role of parietal cortical regions and their connections to other distant brain areas in forming a stable mental representation of space, which is necessary to afford goal-directed behavior and awareness of the environment despite the frequent discontinuities in sensory inputs and changes in eye gaze direction. We also investigate the role of modulatory neurotransmitters(acetylcholine) on spatial processing and spatial attention in both patients and healthy subjects. To this aim, functional brain scans are performed while patients and normal volunteers perform various spatial tasks, with or without drug treatments that are known to influence neurotransmission by acetylcholine. The major goal of these projects is to understand how the human brain represents space to mediate conscious awareness of environmental sensory events, and how neurological lesions such as stroke can dramatically disturb spatial perception in patients with neglect, in order to design more efficient treatment strategies.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
127560 How the mind controls the brain: A systematic neuroimaging study of attention and inhibitory executive control in hypnosis 01.10.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
111405 The alps brain imaging meeting (ABIM) 01.10.2005 Scientific Conferences
121334 Establishing a pluridisciplinary brain and behavior laboratory at the University of Geneva 01.10.2008 R'EQUIP
166704 Harnessing residual unconscious processing with neurofeedback to regulate visual awareness: implications for spatial attention deficits in patients with neglect after stroke 01.05.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)