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Disorders of attentional processes 

Disorders of attentional processes
Chapter:
Disorders of attentional processes
Author(s):

Paolo Bartolomeo

and Raffaella Migliaccio

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199655946.003.0015
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date: 03 June 2020

The term ‘attention’ refers to a set of cognitive processes allowing an organism to cope with a changing external and internal environment while maintaining its goals. Disorders of attention often occur in neurodegenerative conditions where they can appear in the context of complex cognitive impairment, or even constitute the central core of the syndrome. This chapter focuses on attention disorders such as the inability to process several visual objects at a time (simultagnosia), the unawareness of an object when presented in competition to another one (extinction), or when occurring on one side of space (visual neglect). Other disorders may affect the general ability to respond to external stimuli and to sustain attention over time. These disorders are described with reference to the corresponding altered brain networks and to the most common diagnostic tests in clinical practice. Four seminal clinical cases of patients affected by posterior cortical atrophy are presented.

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