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Hemineglect Essay

2004 words - 8 pages

Hemineglect also known as unilateral spatial neglect, hemispatial neglect, hemi-inattention, hemisensory, parietal neglect or spatial neglect (Kerkhoff, 2000), is a condition in which patients are unable to attend and respond to the contralesional side of space (Dijkerman, Webling, ter Wal, Groet, & van Zandvoort, 2003). Hemineglect is characterized by the lack of spatial awareness, most commonly on the left hemispace (Parton & Malhotra & Husain, 2004). The most common form of hemineglect, is that of patients who have right hemisphere lesions commonly found to damage the ‘where’ pathway, most commonly after a stroke. These kinds of patients tend to neglect the left hand side of space (Driver & Mattingley, 1998). Although it is not restricted to right hemispheric lesions in the ‘where visual pathway’, it is more predominant and tends to be harder to rehabilitate back to full recovery (Parton; Malhotra; Husain, 2004). Hemineglect does not just present itself visually, but also through other senses such as motor neglect, auditory neglect, representational neglect and also personal neglect (Plummer, Morris, & Dunai, 2003). Hemineglect is not a result of loss of sensory disorder. It is not uncommon to receive left hemisphere lesions or trauma and gain hemineglect. It does seem however that it is easier to treat and rehabilitate patients to a full recovery if this damage has occurred, compared to right hemisphere damage.

Hemineglect is present when there is damage to the dorsal/ where visual pathway in the brain which leads from the occipital lobe of the brain to the parietal lobe. The ‘where visual pathway’ is concerned with constructing three dimensional representations of the environment and helps our brain to navigate where things are independently of what they are, in space in relation to itself (Mishkin & Ungerleider & Macko, 1983).

Hemineglect can present itself in many different ways, and is sometimes hard to diagnose. The common symptoms of hemineglect can affect simple everyday tasks such as getting dressed, eating a meal or in general their ability to walk. A typical example of hemineglect is through a patient called Janet (Odgen, 2005). Janet was a 50 year old woman, who first became apparent of her condition on her 50th birthday when she first only blew out the right hand side of her candles on the birthday cake. Although she seemed to joke about blowing out only one side of the candles on the cake, when she was rushed to the hospital it was evident that Janet had suffered a stroke and had damaged the right hand side of her brain. Janet displayed typical textbook case of hemineglect such as writing the numbers of the clock down the right hand side, only reading the left hand side of a book, and when she wrote everything was written down the right side of the page. Janet also along with visual neglect had motor neglect in which she neglected the left arm. One account was noted when Janet had dressed herself, she had her right arm in the...

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