Direct Evidence for a Parietal-Frontal Pathway Subserving Spatial Awareness in Humans

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Science  30 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5744, pp. 2226-2228
DOI: 10.1126/science.1116251

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Intraoperative electrical stimulation, which temporarily inactivates restricted regions during brain surgery, can map cognitive functions in humans with spatiotemporal resolution unmatched by other methods. Using this technique, we found that stimulation of the right inferior parietal lobule or the caudal superior temporal gyrus, but not of its rostral portion, determined rightward deviations on line bisection. However, the strongest shifts occurred with subcortical stimulation. Fiber tracking identified the stimulated site as a section of the superior occipitofrontal fasciculus, a poorly known parietal-frontal pathway. These findings suggest that parietal-frontal communication is necessary for the symmetrical processing of the visual scene.

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