Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Peripersonal spatial attention in children with spina bifida

Dennis M, Edelstein K, Frederick J, Copeland K, Francis D, Blaser SE, Kramer LA, Drake JM, Brandt M, Hetherington R, Fletcher JM. Peripersonal spatial attention in children with spina bifida: associations between horizontal and vertical line bisection and congenital malformations of the corpus callosum, midbrain, and posterior cortex. Neuropsychologia. 2005;43(14):2000-10.

Horizontal and vertical line bisection was studied in 129 children and adolescents between 8 and 19 years of age, one group (n=32) of typically developing controls and one group (n=97) with spina bifida (SBM), a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with dysmorphology of the corpus callosum, posterior cortex, and midbrain. For each participant, structural brain MRIs were analyzed qualitatively to identify beaking of the midbrain tectum and corpus callosum agenesis and hypoplasia and quantitatively by segmentation and volumetric analyses of regional cortical white and gray matter. Each group showed the line length effect, whereby greater estimation errors are made with longer lines. The group with SBM differed from controls in terms of both accuracy and variability of line bisection. Children with SBM showed pseudoneglect, attending more than controls to left hemispace. The extent of rightward bisection bias was unrelated to right posterior brain volumes, although an intact corpus callosum during development moderated and normalized the exaggerated leftward line bisection bias. More children with SBM than controls attended to inferior hemispace. A normal midbrain and greater posterior cortex volume during development moderated and normalized the downward bias. Children with SBM showed more intra-subject variability than controls. Line bisection in children with SBM reflects three deficits: an exaggerated attentional bias to left hemispace, an abnormal attentional bias to inferior hemispace; and a larger zone of subjective uncertainty in bisection judgments.

PMID: 15893777

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