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J Neuropsychol. 2010 Sep;4(Pt 2):121-45. doi: 10.1348/174866409X471760. Epub 2009 Oct 8.

Functional and anatomical profile of visual motion impairments in stroke patients correlate with fMRI in normal subjects.

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  • 1Brain and Vision Research Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience, and Neurology, Boston University, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


We used six psychophysical tasks to measure sensitivity to different types of global motion in 45 healthy adults and in 57 stroke patients who had recovered from the initial results of the stroke, but a large subset of them had enduring deficits on selective visual motion perception tasks. The patients were divided into four groups on the basis of the location of their cortical lesion: occipito-temporal, occipito-parietal, rostro-dorsal parietal, or frontal-prefrontal. The six tasks were: direction discrimination, speed discrimination, motion coherence, motion discontinuity, two-dimensional form-from-motion, and motion coherence - radial. We found both qualitative and quantitative differences among the motion impairments in the four groups: patients with frontal lesions or occipito-temporal lesions were not impaired on any task. The other two groups had substantial impairments, most severe in the group with occipito-parietal damage. We also tested eight healthy control subjects on the same tasks while they were scanned by functional magnetic resonance imaging. The BOLD signal provoked by the different tasks correlated well with the locus of the lesions that led to impairments among the different tasks. The results highlight the advantage of using psychophysical techniques and a variety of visual tasks with neurological patients to tease apart the contribution of different cortical areas to motion processing.

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