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Contralesional neglect may be induced by either unawareness of
contralesional stimuli (attentional neglect, AN) or failure to act in
contralesional space (intentional neglect, IN). We examined whether
contralesional cold caloric stimulation differentially affects AN
versus IN. Patients with left-sided neglect (n = 16)
from right-hemisphere lesions performed target cancellation and line
bisection tasks. Using a video-based apparatus that reverses the right
and left side of stimuli, patients with abnormal cancellation
performance were divided into those with AN and those with IN. The 5
subjects with normal cancellation performance but rightward bisection
bias were also separated into 2 neglect groups. Subjects performed
cancellation or bisection tasks before and immediately after irrigation
of the left auditory canal with ice water. Caloric stimulation induced
brisk rightward nystagmus in all subjects. Subjects with AN cancelled
more left-sided targets after stimulation than those with IN
(p = .02). Whereas caloric stimulation significantly shifted
bisection error leftward for both IN and AN groups (p <
.0001), AN patients exhibited a greater magnitude of shift than the IN
patients. While the basis for differential performance remains
undefined, the data indicate that caloric stimulation influences AN
more than IN. (JINS, 2003, 9, 983–988.)
Deficits in visual-spatial ability can be associated with
Parkinson's disease (PD), and there are several possible reasons
for these deficits. Dysfunction in frontal–striatal and/or
frontal–parietal systems, associated with dopamine deficiency,
might disrupt cognitive processes either supporting (e.g., working
memory) or subserving visual-spatial computations. The goal of this
study was to assess visual–spatial orientation ability in
individuals with PD using the Mental Rotations Test (MRT), along with
other measures of cognitive function. Non-demented men with PD were
significantly less accurate on this test than matched control men. In
contrast, women with PD performed similarly to matched control women,
but both groups of women did not perform much better than chance.
Further, mental rotation accuracy in men correlated with their
executive skills involving mental processing and psychomotor speed. In
women with PD, however, mental rotation accuracy correlated negatively
with verbal memory, indicating that higher mental rotation performance
was associated with lower ability in verbal memory. These results
indicate that PD is associated with visual–spatial orientation
deficits in men. Women with PD and control women both performed poorly
on the MRT, possibly reflecting a floor effect. Although men and women
with PD appear to engage different cognitive processes in this task,
the reason for the sex difference remains to be elucidated.
(JINS, 2003, 9, 1078–1087.)
Patients with probable Alzheimer's disease
(AD) often have difficulties associated with semantic knowledge.
Therefore, conceptual apraxia, a defect of action semantics
and mechanical knowledge, may be an early sign of this
disease. The Florida Action Recall Test (FLART), developed
to assess conceptual apraxia, consists of 45 line drawings
of objects or scenes. The subject must imagine the proper
tool to apply to each pictured object or scene and then
pantomime its use. Twelve participants with Alzheimer's
disease (NINCDS–ADRDA criteria) and 21 age- and education-matched
controls were tested. Nine Alzheimer's disease participants
scored below a 2-standarddeviation cutoff on conceptual
accuracy, and the three who scored above the cutoff were
beyond a 2-standard-deviation cutoff on completion time.
The FLART appears to be a sensitive measure of conceptual
apraxia in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
(JINS, 2000, 6, 265–270.)
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