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Pom Charras

What brain tumour and brain surgery can tell us about functional reorganization of attentional networks ?

Stroke in the right hemisphere often provokes a well-known syndrome referred to as left spatial neglect. In the acute phase, disorders are characterized by low arousal and by a massive loss of interest for events occurring in the left side of space. The disruption of large-scale frontoparietal networks of the right hemisphere is assumed to produce left spatial neglect by interfering with the orienting of attentional resources and the maintaining of attention to objects or to locations. In the present talk, I will present a recent and innovative methodology used to investigate the functional organization of the attentional networks in the right hemisphere. Low grade gliomas are slow growing tumours that invasively infiltrate functional brain tissues. To prevent their progression, massive brain resections are performed under awake brain surgery while direct electrical stimulation is applied at cortical and sub-cortical levels. This technique shows excellent preservation of cognitive and motor functions, as well as an optimized vital prognostic for patients. During this seminar, I will first introduce left spatial neglect by presenting some studies conducted during my PhD in collaboration with Paolo Bartolomeo in Paris. Then I will give a state-of-the-art about brain tumour, surgery, and attentional networks. Finally, I will present the data collected during my post-doc on 20 patients who underwent brain surgery to remove a glioma in the right hemisphere. All the patients were tested before, 2 days after, and 3 months after surgery with a battery assessing neglect-like syndrome. Some conclusions about brain plasticity and functional reorganization of the attentional networks are drawn.