The general aim of this study was to assess the effect produced by visuo-spatial attention on both behavioural performance and brain activation in hemianopic patients following visual stimulus presentation to the blind hemifield. To do that, we tested five hemianopic patients and six age-matched healthy controls in a fMRI scanner during the execution of a Posner-like paradigm using a predictive central cue. Participants were instructed to covertly orient attention toward the blind or sighted hemifield in different blocks while discriminating the orientation of a visual grating. In patients, we found significantly faster reaction times (RT) in valid and neutral than invalid trials not only in the sighted but also in the blind hemfield, despite the impairment of consciousness and performance at chance. As to the fMRI signal, in valid trials we observed the activation of ipsilesional visual areas (mainly lingual gyrus - area 19) during the orientation of attention toward the blind hemifield. Importantly, this activation was similar in patients and controls. In order to assess the related functional network, we performed a psychophysiological interactions (PPI) analysis that revealed an increased functional connectivity (FC) in patients with respect to controls between the ipsilesional lingual gyrus and ipsilateral fronto-parietal as well as contralesional parietal regions. Moreover, the shift of attention from the blind to the sighted hemifield revealed stronger FC between the contralesional visual areas V3/V4 and ipsilateral parietal regions in patients than controls. These results indicate a higher cognitive effort in patients when paying attention to the blind hemifiled or when shifting attention from the blind to the sighted hemfiield, possibly as an attempt to compensate for the visual loss. Taken together, these results show that hemianopic patients can covertly orient attention toward the blind hemifield with a top-down mechanism by activating a functional network mainly including fronto-parietal regions belonging to the dorsal attentional network.

Visuo-spatial attention to the blind hemifield of hemianopic patients: can it survive the impairment of visual awareness?

Pedersini, Caterina A
;
Sanchez-Lopez, Javier;Cardobi, Nicolo';Savazzi, Silvia;Marzi, Carlo A
2020

Abstract

The general aim of this study was to assess the effect produced by visuo-spatial attention on both behavioural performance and brain activation in hemianopic patients following visual stimulus presentation to the blind hemifield. To do that, we tested five hemianopic patients and six age-matched healthy controls in a fMRI scanner during the execution of a Posner-like paradigm using a predictive central cue. Participants were instructed to covertly orient attention toward the blind or sighted hemifield in different blocks while discriminating the orientation of a visual grating. In patients, we found significantly faster reaction times (RT) in valid and neutral than invalid trials not only in the sighted but also in the blind hemfield, despite the impairment of consciousness and performance at chance. As to the fMRI signal, in valid trials we observed the activation of ipsilesional visual areas (mainly lingual gyrus - area 19) during the orientation of attention toward the blind hemifield. Importantly, this activation was similar in patients and controls. In order to assess the related functional network, we performed a psychophysiological interactions (PPI) analysis that revealed an increased functional connectivity (FC) in patients with respect to controls between the ipsilesional lingual gyrus and ipsilateral fronto-parietal as well as contralesional parietal regions. Moreover, the shift of attention from the blind to the sighted hemifield revealed stronger FC between the contralesional visual areas V3/V4 and ipsilateral parietal regions in patients than controls. These results indicate a higher cognitive effort in patients when paying attention to the blind hemifiled or when shifting attention from the blind to the sighted hemfiield, possibly as an attempt to compensate for the visual loss. Taken together, these results show that hemianopic patients can covertly orient attention toward the blind hemifield with a top-down mechanism by activating a functional network mainly including fronto-parietal regions belonging to the dorsal attentional network.
visuo-spatial attention
fMRI
functional connectivity
hemianopia
perceptual awareness
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Functional interactions in patients with hemianopia_A graph theory-based connectivity study of resting fMRI signal.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione dell'editore
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 2.55 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
2.55 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1029986
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 1
  • Scopus 1
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 1
social impact