Right brain damage often provokes deficits of visuospatial attention. Although the spatial attention networks have been widely investigated in stroke patients as well as in the healthy brain, little is known about the impact of slow growing lesions in the right hemisphere. We here present a longitudinal study of 20 patients who have been undergoing awake brain surgery with per-operative line bisection testing. Our aim was to investigate the impact of tumour presence and of tumour resection on the functional (re)organization of the attention networks. We assessed patients' performance on lateralized target detection, visual exploration and line bisection before surgery, and in the acute and post-acute operative phases after surgery. Clear evidence for transient neglect signs was observed in the acute post-operative phase, although full recovery had invariably occurred in all patients. The resection of the right angular gyrus was associated with transient neglect-like symptoms in all tasks, whereas resection of more anterior regions correlated with transient deficits only in visual exploration or detection (but not in line bisection). The attentional networks showed substantial functional recovery. This impressive pattern of recovery is discussed in terms of involvement of the contralateral left hemisphere and of preservation of long-range white matter pathways within the right hemisphere.
- Functional recovery
- Slow growing lesion