Prism adaptation aftereffects in stroke patients with spatial neglect: pathological effects on subjective straight ahead but not visual open-loop pointing.
Sarri M., Greenwood R., Kalra L., Papps B., Husain M., Driver J.
Prism adaptation to rightward optical shifts during visually guided pointing is considered a promising intervention in right-hemisphere stroke patients with left spatial neglect. Conventionally, prism adaptation is assessed via aftereffects, on subjective straight ahead (SSA) pointing with eyes closed; or by visual open-loop pointing (VOL), i.e. pointing to a visual target without seeing the hand. Previous data suggest indirectly that prism aftereffects in neglect patients may be larger (pathologically so) when assessed by SSA than by VOL. But these measures have never been directly compared within the same patients after identical prism exposure. Accordingly we implemented both measures here within the same group of 13 neglect patients and 13 controls. Prism aftereffects were much larger for SSA than VOL in neglect patients, falling outside the normative range only for SSA. This may arise because the SSA task can itself involve aspects of neglect that may be ameliorated by the prism intervention, hence showing abnormal changes after prisms. The extent of SSA change after prisms varied between patients, and correlated with improvements on a standard cancellation measure for neglect. The lesions of patients who did versus did not show neglect improvement immediately after prisms provide an initial indication that lack of improvement may potentially relate to cortical damage in right intraparietal sulcus and white matter damage in inferior parietal lobe and middle frontal gyrus. Future studies of possible rehabilitative impact from prisms upon neglect may need to consider carefully how to measure prism adaptation per se, separately from any impact of such adaptation upon manifestations of neglect.