The rises and falls of disconnection syndromes. Brain

Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, UK.
Brain (Impact Factor: 9.2). 11/2005; 128(Pt 10):2224-39. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awh622
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In a brain composed of localized but connected specialized areas, disconnection leads to dysfunction. This simple formulation underlay a range of 19th century neurological disorders, referred to collectively as disconnection syndromes. Although disconnectionism fell out of favour with the move against localized brain theories in the early 20th century, in 1965, an American neurologist brought disconnection to the fore once more in a paper entitled, 'Disconnexion syndromes in animals and man'. In what was to become the manifesto of behavioural neurology, Norman Geschwind outlined a pure disconnectionist framework which revolutionized both clinical neurology and the neurosciences in general. For him, disconnection syndromes were higher function deficits that resulted from white matter lesions or lesions of the association cortices, the latter acting as relay stations between primary motor, sensory and limbic areas. From a clinical perspective, the work reawakened interest in single case studies by providing a useful framework for correlating lesion locations with clinical deficits. In the neurosciences, it helped develop contemporary distributed network and connectionist theories of brain function. Geschwind's general disconnectionist paradigm ruled clinical neurology for 20 years but in the late 1980s, with the re-emergence of specialized functional roles for association cortex, the orbit of its remit began to diminish and it became incorporated into more general models of higher dysfunction. By the 1990s, textbooks of neurology were devoting only a few pages to classical disconnection theory. Today, new techniques to study connections in the living human brain allow us, for the first time, to test the classical formulation directly and broaden it beyond disconnections to include disorders of hyperconnectivity. In this review, on the 40th anniversary of Geschwind's publication, we describe the changing fortunes of disconnection theory and adapt the general framework that evolved from it to encompass the entire spectrum of higher function disorders in neurology and psychiatry.

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    • "The long segment of the arcuate fasciculus connects Wernicke's with Broca's region, whereas the anterior segment of the arcuate fasciculus (or third branch of the superior longitudinal fasciculus) connects Broca's to Geschwind's territory (in the inferior parietal lobule) (Catani et al. 2005). In addition, the frontal aslant tract connects Broca's to the pre-supplementary area. "
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    ABSTRACT: On the 50th anniversary of Norman Geschwind's seminal paper entitled 'Disconnexion syndrome in animal and man', we pay tribute to his ideas by applying contemporary tractography methods to understand white matter disconnection in 3 classic cases that made history in behavioral neurology. We first documented the locus and extent of the brain lesion from the computerized tomography of Phineas Gage's skull and the magnetic resonance images of Louis Victor Leborgne's brain, Broca's first patient, and Henry Gustave Molaison. We then applied the reconstructed lesions to an atlas of white matter connections obtained from diffusion tractography of 129 healthy adults. Our results showed that in all 3 patients, disruption extended to connections projecting to areas distant from the lesion. We confirmed that the damaged tracts link areas that in contemporary neuroscience are considered functionally engaged for tasks related to emotion and decision-making (Gage), language production (Leborgne), and declarative memory (Molaison). Our findings suggest that even historic cases should be reappraised within a disconnection framework whose principles were plainly established by the associationist schools in the last 2 centuries. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press.
    Cerebral Cortex 08/2015; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhv173 · 8.67 Impact Factor
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    • "Furthermore, SZ patients generally have deficits in emotion recognition that are demonstrated by defective imitation and pantomiming of facial expression [45] [46] [47]. Gesture production critically involves a fronto-parietal network [48] [49] and SZ patients may show gestural deficits as a sign of underlying network dysfunction. There is evidence [50] of a differentiation between SZ patients with and without gestural deficits. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although diagnosis is a central issue in medical care, in psychiatry its value is still controversial. The function of diagnosis is to indicate treatments and to help clinicians take better care of patients. The fundamental role of diagnosis is to predict outcome and prognosis. To date serious concern persists regarding the clinical utility and predictive validity of the diagnosis system in psychiatry, which is at the most syndromal. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which nosologists consider two distinct disorders, are the most discussed psychiatric illnesses. Recent findings in different fields of psychiatric research, such as neuroimaging, neuropathology, neuroimmunology, neuropsychology and genetics, have led to other conceptualizations. Individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder vary greatly with regard to symptoms, illness course, treatment response, cognitive and functional impairment and biological correlates. In fact, it is possible to find heterogeneous correlates even within the same syndrome, i.e., from one stage of the disorder to another. Thus, it is possible to identify different subsyndromes, which share some clinical and neurobiological characteristics. The main goal of modern psychiatry is to ovethrow these barriers and to obtain a better understanding of the biological profiles underlying heterogeneous clinical features and thus reduce the variance and lead to a homogeneous definition. The translational research model, which connects the basic neuroscience research field with clinical experience in psychiatry, aims to investigate different neurobiological features of syndromes and of the shared neurobiological features between two syndromes. In fact, this approach should help us to better understand the neurobiological pathways underlying clinical entities, and even to distinguish different, more homogeneous, diagnostic subtypes. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Clinica Chimica Acta 02/2015; 449. DOI:10.1016/j.cca.2015.02.029 · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    • "Hence, the two eponymous areas of Broca and Wernicke were not accompanied by a third, 'Lichtheim's area'. Based on Geschwind's hypotheses, Catani and ffytche (2005) placed access to semantic Contents lists available at ScienceDirect journal homepage: Neuropsychologia 0028-3932/& 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. representations, during both speech comprehension and production , in the left inferior parietal cortex, which they labeled as 'Geschwind's region'. "
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    ABSTRACT: Retrieval of semantic representations is a central process during overt speech production. There is an increasing consensus that an amodal semantic 'hub' must exist that draws together modality-specific representations of concepts. Based on the distribution of atrophy and the behavioral deficit of patients with the semantic variant of fronto-temporal lobar degeneration, it has been proposed that this hub is localized within both anterior temporal lobes (ATL), and is functionally connected with verbal 'output' systems via the left ATL. An alternative view, dating from Geschwind's proposal in 1965, is that the angular gyrus (AG) is central to object-based semantic representations. In this fMRI study we examined the connectivity of the left ATL and parietal lobe (PL) with whole brain networks known to be activated during overt picture description. We decomposed each of these two brain volumes into 15 regions of interest (ROIs), using independent component analysis. A dual regression analysis was used to establish the connectivity of each ROI with whole brain-networks. An ROI within the left anterior superior temporal sulcus (antSTS) was functionally connected to other parts of the left ATL, including anterior ventromedial left temporal cortex (partially attenuated by signal loss due to susceptibility artifact), a large left dorsolateral prefrontal region (including 'classic' Broca's area), extensive bilateral sensory-motor cortices, and the length of both superior temporal gyri. The time-course of this functionally connected network was associated with picture description but not with non-semantic baseline tasks. This system has the distribution expected for the production of overt speech with appropriate semantic content, and the auditory monitoring of the overt speech output. In contrast, the only left PL ROI that showed connectivity with brain systems most strongly activated by the picture-description task, was in the superior parietal lobe (supPL). This region showed connectivity with predominantly posterior cortical regions required for the visual processing of the pictorial stimuli, with additional connectivity to the dorsal left AG and a small component of the left inferior frontal gyrus. None of the other PL ROIs that included part of the left AG were activated by Speech alone. The best interpretation of these results is that the left antSTS connects the proposed semantic hub (specifically localized to ventral anterior temporal cortex based on clinical neuropsychological studies) to posterior frontal regions and sensory-motor cortices responsible for the overt production of speech. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Neuropsychologia 12/2014; 57. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.12.012 · 3.30 Impact Factor
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