Disturbed line bisection is associated with posterior brain lesions

Brain Res. 2006 Mar 29;1080(1):17-25. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2004.10.071. Epub 2006 Mar 7.


Neglect patients classically fail to orient and respond to stimuli appearing on their contralesional side. Traditionally, the neglect syndrome has been associated with damage to the right inferior parietal lobule (IPL) and the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ). Neglect is popularly assessed by two different tasks: line bisection and cancellation. In a previous study (S. Ferber, H.-O. Karnath, How to assess spatial neglect-line bisection or cancellation tasks. J. Clin. Exp. Neuropsychol. 23 (2001) 599-607), we observed that performance on the cancellation task correlates well with the characteristic behavioral disorders used to clinically diagnose spatial neglect, while line bisection was a poor predictor. This might indicate that the disability to correctly bisect lines is a distinct disorder separable from spatial neglect. Here, we assess the anatomy of the patients investigated in that study, and reveal that damage to the temporo-occipital junction correlates with poor performance in the line bisection task. This work extends previous work by Binder et al. (J. Binder, R. Marshall, R. Lazar, J. Benjamin, J.P. Mohr, Distinct syndromes of hemineglect. Arch. Neurol. 49 (1992) 1187-1194) suggesting that line bisection and cancellation identify distinct syndromes. The data suggest that these two tasks dissociate both in terms of behavior and anatomy. This anatomical distinction may help reconcile our recent finding that spatial neglect is associated with damage to the superior temporal cortex and insula, while others have identified the IPL and TPJ. Specifically, we note that our previous anatomical studies did not use the line bisection task to select neglect patients, while many others used this task. We suggest that anatomical studies that combine patients from both of these two distinct groups may result in misleading findings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / etiology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Form Perception*
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occipital Lobe / pathology*
  • Perceptual Disorders / classification
  • Perceptual Disorders / etiology
  • Perceptual Disorders / pathology*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology*