Attention in spina bifida myelomeningocele: Relations with brain volume and integrity


This study investigated the relations of tectal volume and superior parietal cortex, as well as alterations in tectocortical white matter connectivity, with the orienting and executive control attention networks in individuals with spina bifida myelomeningocele (SBM). Probabilistic diffusion tractography and quantification of tectal and superior parietal cortical volume were performed on 74 individuals aged 8–29 with SBM and a history of hydrocephalus. Behavioral assessments measured posterior (covert orienting) and anterior (conflict resolution, attentional control) attention network functions. Reduced tectal volume was associated with slower covert orienting; reduced superior parietal cortical volume was associated with slower conflict resolution; and increased axial diffusivity and radial diffusivity along both frontal and parietal tectocortical pathways were associated with reduced attentional control. Results suggest that components of both the orienting and executive control attention networks are impaired in SBM. Neuroanatomical disruption to the orienting network appears more robust and a direct consequence of characteristic midbrain dysmorphology; whereas, executive control difficulties may emerge from parietal cortical anomalies and reduced frontal and parietal cortical–subcortical white matter pathways susceptible to the pathophysiological effects of congenital hydrocephalus.



Attention network, Neuroimaging, Tectum, Superior parietal cortex, Tectocortical pathways, Robust correlations


Copyright 2015 NeuroImage: Clinical. Recommended citation: Kulesz, Paulina A., Amery Treble-Barna, Victoria J. Williams, Jenifer Juranek, Paul T. Cirino, Maureen Dennis, and Jack M. Fletcher. "Attention in Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele: Relations with Brain Volume and Integrity." NeuroImage: Clinical 8 (2015): 72-78. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2015.03.022. URL: Reproduced in accordance with licensing terms and with the author's permission.