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Klinik für Neurologie und Neurophysiologie

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Spatial Attention

Neurological Research Group Freiburg
Spatial Attention

Lesion in a stroke patient with neglect and his copy of drawing


  • Neglect is is a failure to report, respond, or orient to novel or meaningful stimuli presented to the contralesional side, when this failure cannot be attributed to either sensory or motor deficit (Heilman et al., 2003).
  • It occurs in about 70% of stroke patients with a right hemisphere lesion (Gottesman et al., 2008) and leads to a significant negative impact on functional outcome (Buxbaum et al., 2004; Jehkonen et al., 2006).
  • Another type of visuospatial attention deficit is extinction, which is a failure to respond to the contralesional stimuli presented simultaneously with ipsilesional ones. While there are a number of studies concerning the mechanisms of visual neglect, the morphological and functional correlates of extinction are less known.

Activation of attention system in fMRI study, Umarova et al., Brain 2011


  • To understand the lesion anatomy of neglect and extinction
  • To investigate the functional correlates of neglect and extinction and differences between these syndromes
  • To research the structural connectivity in neglect and extinction
  • To investigate the recovery process in neglect


  • Acute visual neglect and extinction: pathomechanisms and the basis for recovery. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigate the visuospatial processing in patients with spatial attention deficit in dynamic.
  • The structural connectivity. Using diffusion-weighted imaging (DTI) and fibre tracking we research the structural connectivity in between attention centres in healthy subjects and in patients with visuospatial attention deficit.
  • Lesion mapping. We investigate the lesion-symptom mapping in patients with neglect and extinction.


  • Group Leader: Roza Umarova, MD
  • Group member: Lena-Alexandra Beume, MD
  • Medical students: Katharina Rudolph, Tanja Ute Beier
  • Ergotherapists: Gabriele Lind, Susanne Karn, Sarah Höfer

Coordinator & Collaborators


  • Dr. Michael Tangermann, Dept. Computer Science, Excellence Cluster BrainLinks-BrainTools, University of Freiburg

Group Leader

Roza Umarova, MD