KMS-2 Study: Diagnostics of induced neglect symptomatology by means ot the encircling-monitor-system

Neglect is a common syndrome after a stroke. Patients with neglect no longer perceive stimuli which are spatially contra lateral to the damaged hemisphere of the brain. In daily life this leads to serious limitations. Moreover, the occurrence of neglect is a negative predictor for expected patient recovery.

Currently, in addition to observing spontaneous behaviour, cross-out tasks (“paper and pencil” tests) are the main means of diagnosing neglect. The downside of these tasks is that they only test a small spatial area. In the first phase of the project (KMS-1 pilot study), we could increase diagnostic accuracy with an encircling-monitor-system which consists of touch screens on which tasks can be presented and solved. We could detect even mild symptoms which are not picked up by traditional tests but can be relevant in complex daily life situations. This makes goal-oriented treatment possible for affected patients. In the long term, we also wanted to use this technology to improve therapy for neglect patients by modelling tasks from everyday life.  

Based on our study KMS-1 we wanted to test healthy participants, after inducing short-term neglect symptoms by means of non-invasive brain stimulation (tDCS). Contrarily to other stroke caused impairments like speech disorders or visual field defects, it was insufficiently examined which lesion locations are responsible for the different manifestations of neglect. The reason is that patients with neglect usually have widely spread lesions which have impaired many areas of the brain.  tDCS gived the opportunity to stimulate specific brain regions and to examine their selective impact on the neglect symptoms. tDCS is without risk and does not lead to any negative sensations or permanent cognitive or sensory restrictions. A selective examination of the underlying mechanisms and involved structure-function-correlations in neglect would help to understand this syndrome and could positively affect the diagnostics and therapy and therefore chances of rehabilitation of these patients.

Contact persons: Dr. Lena Ulm, Dorota Wohlrapp (MS) (WG Cerebrovascular Diseases, NCRC, Neurology CCM)

Study Director: Prof. Dr. Andreas Meisel (WG Cerebrovascular Diseases, NCRC, CSB, Neurology CCM)

Participating cooperation partners: NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence (Prof. Dr. Agnes Flöel , Prof. York Winter), Median Klinik Berlin-Kladow (Dr. Christian Dohle), Freie Universität Berlin, Department of Experimental Psychology and Neuropsychology (Prof. Michael Niedeggen), Berlin Center for Advanced Neuroimaging BCAN, and the graduate school Berlin School of Mind and Brain (Dr. Daniel S. Margulies).