The majority of stroke patients may have attention disorders, most of which are not diagnosed, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.
Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK analyzed 110 patients who were being treated for stroke at London's Charing Cross Hospital, alongside 62 participants who had not suffered from stroke.
Five of the stroke patients had already been diagnosed with an attention disorder called "neglect" - a deficit of attention and awareness in one side of the body.
All of the participants were required to take part in an attention network test (ANT) so that the researchers could measure the patients' alertness, orientation and executive control. The tests involved "computer game" style measurements.
During the tests, the participants' performance in the brain was measured with MRI scans using a "voxel-lesion mapping approach."
'Over half of stroke patients have attention problems'The results of the tests revealed that over 50% of the stroke patients had attention disorders that had not been diagnosed.
Dr. Paul Bentley of the department of medicine at Imperial College London says:
"We found that more than half of stroke patients have some form of attention problem, and these may be missed by routine bedside examinations."The researchers say that the type of attention disorder was dependent on what part of the brain the patient had suffered the stroke. For example, patients who had strokes that affected:
- Front of the brain - experienced difficulty filtering out distraction
- Back of the brain - had difficulty following instructions
- Center of the brain - showed a reduction in alertness.