The anatomy of spatial neglect based on voxelwise statistical analysis: a study of 140 patients

Cereb Cortex. 2004 Oct;14(10):1164-72. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhh076. Epub 2004 May 13.


A major challenge for any anatomical study of spatial neglect in neurological patients is that human lesions vary tremendously in extent and location between individuals. Approaches to this problem used in previous studies were to focus on subgroups of patients that are more homogeneous either with respect to the branch territory affected by the stroke or with respect to existing additional neurological symptoms (e.g. additional visual field defects). It could be argued that such strategies might bias the conclusions on the critical substrate associated with spatial neglect. The present study thus addressed the high variability inherent in naturally occurring lesions by using an unselected, but very large sample size and by comparing a neglect group with a non-neglect group using voxelwise statistical testing. We investigated an unselected 7 year sample of 140 consecutively admitted patients with right hemisphere strokes. Seventy-eight had spatial neglect, 62 did not show the disorder. The incidence of visual field defects was comparable in both groups. For assessing lesion location, in a first step, we used conventional lesion density plots together with subtraction analysis. Moreover, due to the large size of the sample voxelwise statistical testing was possible to objectively estimate which brain regions are more frequently compromised in neglect patients relative to patients without neglect. The results demonstrate that the right superior temporal cortex, the insula and subcortically putamen and caudate nucleus are the neural structures damaged significantly more often in patients with spatial neglect.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perceptual Disorders / pathology*
  • Stroke / pathology*
  • Telencephalon / pathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / statistics & numerical data