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Jan 15, 2007

Neglect and prism adaptation: a new therapeutic tool for spatial cognition disorders

Neglect and prism adaptation: a new therapeutic tool for spatial cognition disorders.

Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2006;24(4-6):347-56

Authors: Rode G, Klos T, Courtois-Jacquin S, Rossetti Y, Pisella L

PURPOSE: A large proportion of right-hemisphere stroke patients show unilateral neglect, a neurological deficit of perception, attention, representation, and/or performing actions within their left-sided space, inducing many functional debilitating effects on everyday life, and responsible for poor functional recovery and ability to benefit from treatment. This spatial cognition disorder affects the orientation of behaviour with a shift of proprioceptive representations toward the lesion side. METHODS: This shift can be reduced after a prism adaptation period to a right lateral displacement of visual field (induced by a simple target-pointing task with base-left wedge prisms). The modification of visuo-motor or sensory-motor correspondences induced by prism adaptation involves improvement of different symptoms of neglect. RESULTS: Classical visuo-motor tests could be improved for at least 2h after adaptation, but also non-motor and non-visual tasks. In addition, cross-modal effects have been described (tactile extinction and dichotic listening), mental imagery tasks (geographic map, number bisection) and even visuo-constructive disorders. These cognitive effects are shown to result from indirect bottom-up effects of the deeper, adaptive realignment component of the reaction to prisms. Lesion studies and functional imaging data evoke a cerebello-cortical network in which each structure plays a specific role and not all structures are crucial for adaptation ability. CONCLUSIONS: These cognitive effects of prism adaptation suggest that prism adaptation does not act specifically on the ipsilesional bias characteristic of unilateral neglect but rehabilitates more generally the visuo-spatial functions attributed to the right cortical hemisphere. These results reinforce the idea that the process of prism adaptation may activate brain functions related to multisensory integration and higher spatial representations and show a generalization at a functional level. Prism adaptation therefore appears as a new powerful therapeutic tool for spatial cognition disorders.

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