Cases reported "Agnosia"

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1/58. Memories are made of this: the effects of time on stored visual knowledge in a case of visual agnosia.

    We report the effects of the passage of time on the longterm visual knowledge for objects in a patient with visual agnosia (H.J.A.). The naming of real objects was found to have improved, although this was not associated with any change in H.J.A.'s basic perceptual abilities which were stable over a 16-year period. The improvement in object naming was attributed to better use of non-contour-based visual information (such as surface detail and depth cues). In addition, we demonstrate a deterioration in H.J.A.'s long-term memory for the visual properties of objects, and argue that this has occurred as a result of his having impaired perceptual input. The deterioration was only apparent in drawing from memory and in the verbal descriptions of items; with forced-choice testing, H.J.A. operated at ceiling; we propose that current tests of visual imagery may not be sufficiently sensitive to detect subtle impairments of visual memory. Our findings can be taken to indicate that perceptual and memorial processes are not functionally independent, but are linked in an interactive manner.
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2/58. Tactile morphagnosia secondary to spatial deficits.

    A 73-year old man showed visual and tactile agnosia following bilateral haemorrhagic stroke. Tactile agnosia was present in both hands, as shown by his impaired recognition of objects, geometrical shapes, letters and nonsense shapes. Basic somatosensory functions and the appreciation of substance qualities (hylognosis) were preserved. The patient's inability to identify the stimulus shape (morphagnosia) was associated with a striking impairment in detecting the orientation of a line or a rod in two- and three-dimensional space. This spatial deficit was thought to underlie morphagnosia, since in the tactile modality form recognition is built upon the integration of the successive changes of orientation in space made by the hand as it explores the stimulus. Indirect support for this hypothesis was provided by the location of the lesions, which could not account for the severe impairment of both hands. Only those located in the right hemisphere encroached upon the posterior parietal cortex, which is the region assumed to be specialised in shape recognition. The left hemisphere damage spared the corresponding area and could not, therefore, be held responsible for the right hand tactile agnosia. We submit that tactile agnosia can result from the disruption of two discrete mechanisms and has different features. It may arise from a parietal lesion damaging the high level processing of somatosensory information that culminates in the structured description of the object. In this case, tactile recognition is impaired in the hand contralateral to the side of the lesion. Alternatively, it may be caused by a profound derangement of spatial skills, particularly those involved in detecting the orientation in space of lines, segments and complex patterns. This deficit results in morphagnosia, which affects both hands to the same degree.
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3/58. Unconscious letter discrimination is enhanced by association with conscious color perception in visual form agnosia.

    Adaptive behavior guided by unconscious visual cues occurs in patients with various kinds of brain damage as well as in normal observers, all of whom can process visual information of which they are fully unaware [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]. Little is known on the possibility that unconscious vision is influenced by visual cues that have access to consciousness [9]. Here we report a 'blind' letter discrimination induced through a semantic interaction with conscious color processing in a patient who is agnosic for visual shapes, but has normal color vision and visual imagery. In seeing the initial letters of color names printed in different colors, it is normally easier to name the print color when it is congruent with the initial letter of the color name than when it is not [10]. The patient could discriminate the initial letters of the words 'red' and 'green' printed in the corresponding colors significantly above chance but without any conscious accompaniment, whereas he performed at chance with the reverse color-letter mapping as well as in standard tests of letter reading. We suggest that the consciously perceived colors activated a representation of the corresponding word names and their component letters, which in turn brought out a partially successful, unconscious processing of visual inputs corresponding to the activated letter representations.
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4/58. Auditory agnosia and auditory spatial deficits following left hemispheric lesions: evidence for distinct processing pathways.

    Auditory recognition and auditory spatial functions were studied in four patients with circumscribed left hemispheric lesions. Patient FD was severely deficient in recognition of environmental sounds but normal in auditory localisation and auditory motion perception. The lesion included the left superior, middle and inferior temporal gyri and lateral auditory areas (as identified in previous anatomical studies), but spared Heschl's gyrus, the acoustic radiation and the thalamus. Patient SD had the same profile as FD, with deficient recognition of environmental sounds but normal auditory localisation and motion perception. The lesion comprised the postero-inferior part of the frontal convexity and the anterior third of the temporal lobe; data from non-human primates indicate that the latter are interconnected with lateral auditory areas. Patient MA was deficient in recognition of environmental sounds, auditory localisation and auditory motion perception, confirming that auditory spatial functions can be disturbed by left unilateral damage; the lesion involved the supratemporal region as well as the temporal, postero-inferior frontal and antero-inferior parietal convexities. Patient CZ was severely deficient in auditory motion perception and partially deficient in auditory localisation, but normal in recognition of environmental sounds; the lesion involved large parts of the parieto-frontal convexity and the supratemporal region. We propose that auditory information is processed in the human auditory cortex along two distinct pathways, one lateral devoted to auditory recognition and one medial and posterior devoted to auditory spatial functions.
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5/58. Neuronal representation of object orientation.

    The dissociation between object identity and object orientation observed in six patients with brain damage, has been taken as evidence for a view-invariant model of object recognition. However, there was also some indication that these patients were not generally agnosic for object orientation but were able to gain access to at least some information about objects' canonical upright. We studied a new case (KB) with spared knowledge of object identity and impaired perception of object orientation using a forced choice paradigm to contrast directly the patient's ability to perceive objects' canonical upright vs non-upright orientations. We presented 2D-pictures of objects with unambiguous canonical upright orientations in four different orientations (0 degrees, -90 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees ). KB showed no impairment in identifying letters, objects, animals, or faces irrespective of their given orientation. Also, her knowledge of upright orientation of stimuli was perfectly preserved. In sharp contrast, KB was not able to judge the orientation when the stimuli were presented in a non-upright orientation. The findings give further support for a distributed view-based representation of objects in which neurons become tuned to the features present in certain views of an object. Since we see more upright than inverted animals and familiar objects, the statistics of these images leads to a larger number of neurons tuned for objects in an upright orientation. We suppose that probably for this reason KB's knowledge of upright orientation was found to be more robust against neuronal damage than knowledge of other orientations.
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6/58. Task-specific effects of orientation information: neuropsychological evidence.

    The deficits underlying orientation agnosia in a patient (MB) with a right fronto-temporo-parietal lesion were examined. Like similar patients in the literature, MB was impaired at discriminating whether objects were upright or not and, in copying, she tended to re-represent stimuli as upright. In addition, MB failed to show the normal effects of rotation on object identification; her naming of objects rotated 45 degrees from upright was no slower than her naming of upright items. Effects of the degree of rotation did emerge, however, when she had to perform a matching task that required mental rotation. The evidence suggests that orientation may be coded in several ways (e.g. separately between objects and relative to the viewer), and that brain-damage can selectively affect the use of some but not all types of orientation information.
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7/58. Monocular and binocular distance cues: insights from visual form agnosia I (of III).

    The human nervous system constructs a Euclidean representation of near (personal) space by combining multiple sources of information (cues). We investigated the cues used for the representation of personal space in a patient with visual form agnosia (DF). Our results indicated that DF relies predominantly on binocular vergence information when determining the distance of a target despite the presence of other (retinal) cues. Notably, DF was able to construct an Euclidean representation of personal space from vergence alone. This finding supports previous assertions that vergence provides the nervous system with veridical information for the construction of personal space. The results from the current study, together with those of others, suggest that: (i) the ventral stream is responsible for extracting depth and distance information from "monocular" retinal cues (i.e. from shading, texture, perspective) and (ii) the dorsal stream has access to binocular information (from horizontal image disparities and vergence). These results also indicate that DF was not able to use size information to gauge target distance, suggesting that intact temporal cortex is necessary for "learned size" to influence distance processing. Our findings further suggest that in neurologically intact humans, object information extracted in the ventral pathway is combined with the products of dorsal stream processing for guiding prehension. Finally, we studied the "size-distance paradox" in visual form agnosia in order to explore the cognitive use of size information. The results of this experiment were consistent with a previous suggestion that the paradox is a cognitive phenomenon.
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8/58. Vertical gaze angle as a distance cue for programming reaching: insights from visual form agnosia II (of III).

    It has been shown that a patient with visual form agnosia (DF) relies predominantly on vergence information when gauging target distance in an open-loop pointing task. This finding suggested that the programming of prehension might be severely disrupted if DF viewed target objects through ophthalmic prisms. An initial experiment showed that this prediction was not upheld; DF was able to programme reasonably accurate movements to objects located on a tabletop despite large changes in vergence angle. A second experiment, however, showed that placing the target objects at eye height whilst manipulating vergence angle caused gross disruption to prehension, with DF mis-programming the reach component in a predictable manner. Notably, the evidence for DF's reliance on vergence distance information was obtained in a task where the targets were viewed at eye height. These experiments indicate that DF uses vertical gaze angle to gauge target distance in normal prehension and suggest that this extra-retinal cue may be a useful source of distance information for the human nervous system, especially where pictorial cues are impoverished.
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9/58. The role of size and binocular information in guiding reaching: insights from virtual reality and visual form agnosia III (of III).

    Reaching out to grasp an object requires information about the size of the object and the distance between the object and the body. We used a virtual reality system with a control population and a patient with visual form agnosia (DF) in order to explore the use of binocular information and size cues in prehension. The experiments consisted of a perceptual matching task in addition to a prehension task. In the prehension task, control participants modified their reach distance in response to step changes in vergence in the absence of any clear reference for relative disparity. Their reach distance was unaffected by equivalent step changes in size, even though they used this information to modify grasp and showed a size bias in a distance matching task. Notably, DF showed the same pattern of results as the controls but was far more sensitive to step changes in vergence. This finding complements previous research suggesting that DF relies predominantly on vergence information when gauging target distance. The results from the perceptual matching tasks confirmed previous findings suggesting that DF is unable to make use of size information for perceptual matching, including distance comparisons. These data are discussed with regard to the properties of the pathways subserving the two visual cortical processing streams.
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10/58. visual perception without awareness in a patient with posterior cortical atrophy: impaired explicit but not implicit processing of global information.

    A patient with progressive posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) was examined on several tests of visual cognition. The patient displayed multiple visual cognitive deficits, which included problems identifying degraded stimuli, attending to two or more stimuli simultaneously, recognizing faces, tracing simple visual stimuli, matching simple shapes, and copying objects. The patient was also impaired in identifying visual targets contained at the global level within global-local stimuli (i.e., smaller letters that compose a larger letter). Although the patient denied any conscious awareness of the global form, he nevertheless displayed a normal pattern of global interference when asked to identify local level targets. Thus, the patient processed the global information despite not being consciously aware of such information. These results suggest that global-local processing can take place in the absence of awareness. Possible neurocognitive mechanisms explaining this dissociation are discussed.
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