Visual Navigation in Adolescents with Early Periventricular Lesions: Knowing Where, but Not Getting There

M. Pavlova, A. Sokolov, I. Krageloh-Mann
2006 Cerebral Cortex  
Visual navigation in familiar and unfamiliar surroundings is an essential ingredient of adaptive daily life behavior. Recent brain imaging work helps to recognize that establishing connectivity between brain regions is of importance for successful navigation. Here, we ask whether the ability to navigate is impaired in adolescents who were born premature and suffer congenital bilateral periventricular brain damage that might affect the pathways interconnecting subcortical structures with cortex.
more » ... Performance on a set of visual labyrinth tasks was significantly worse in patients with periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) as compared with premature-born controls without lesions and term-born adolescents. The ability for visual navigation inversely relates to the severity of motor disability, leg-dominated bilateral spastic cerebral palsy. This agrees with the view that navigation ability substantially improves with practice and might be compromised in individuals with restrictions in active spatial exploration. Visual navigation is negatively linked to the volumetric extent of lesions over the right parietal and frontal periventricular regions. Whereas impairments of visual processing of point-light biological motion are associated in patients with PVL with bilateral parietal periventricular lesions, navigation ability is specifically linked to the frontal lesions in the right hemisphere. We suggest that more anterior periventricular lesions impair the interrelations between the right hippocampus and cortical areas leading to disintegration of neural networks engaged in visual navigation. For the first time, we show that the severity of right frontal periventricular damage and leg-dominated motor disorders can serve as independent predictors of the visual navigation disability.
doi:10.1093/cercor/bhj153 pmid:16525128 fatcat:m3evqxqnbbhzrh6g7w3qd3d3pi