Monday, April 29th, 2019
Last modified on May 25th, 2023
The brain consists of two distinct halves, known as the right and left hemispheres. Each hemisphere is responsible for different tasks, including physically controlling the side of the body opposite it. When one hemisphere is damaged by a stroke, the brain may become unable to process or perceive what is occurring in and around the opposite side of the body. In severe cases, stroke patients may be unaware that their opposite side even exists and ignore it completely. This condition, known as hemineglect (also unilateral neglect, hemispatial neglect, or spatial neglect). Hemineglect is most prominent and lasts longer when a stroke damages the right side of the brain. However, damage may also occur on the left side of the brain, resulting in hemineglect on the right side of the body. As a matter of course, medical professionals test stroke patients to determine whether they are suffering from hemineglect.
Hemineglect is characterized by reduced awareness of stimuli on one side of the body or in the space it inhabits, even though there may be no sensory loss. It may include the inability to process or perceive objects, people, and other stimuli. Sometimes, patients even ignore or disown their limbs on the affected side. Experts believe hemineglect occurs only when specific areas of the brain are damaged by a stroke. For example, the parietal lobe in the right hemisphere of the brain is involved with awareness of the space on both sides of the body, while the left parietal lobe only governs the right side. When the right parietal lobe is damaged, it can no longer attend to the left or right side of the body or the space it inhabits, but an intact left parietal lobe can still attend to the right side. That’s why the left side of the body is most often impacted by hemineglect.
Patients who suffer from hemineglect may have some degree of paralysis, but limb weakness is not the cause of the condition. Many people with paralyzed limbs remain aware of both sides of their bodies and the surrounding space. However, those who suffer from hemineglect often appear to have increased limb weakness as well.
Generally, the right side of the brain coordinates tasks connected with creativity and the arts, such as spatial reasoning, musical comprehension, basic object recognition, emotion, and imagination. The left side of the brain is responsible for tasks that involve logic, such as science and math. Medical professionals test for the presence of neglect after a brain injury with a variety of mental tasks, including:
These tests enable professionals to determine the presence, location, and extent of hemineglect.
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Sometimes the brain spontaneously recovers from hemineglect. Other times, it is necessary to retrain the brain to notice the neglected side of the body and surrounding space. Visual scanning tasks seem to be most successful in accomplishing this. Family members and caregivers can utilize the following activities to assist those suffering from hemineglect:
Retraining the brain to respond to stimuli and relearn certain behaviors takes time. There is no way to predict how long it will take to recover from hemineglect. Consistency, repetition, and patience will bear the best results. Here at Saebo, we are committed to stroke support and recovery for all survivors and their families. Saebo offers a wide range of products that combine cutting-edge technology with evidence-based rehabilitation techniques. Our offerings and network of Saebo-trained therapists can help you or a loved one to obtain all the necessary tools to maximize stroke recovery.
For More Information on Hemineglect, Visit:
“How a Stroke in the Right Brain Affects the Body and How to Recover,” https://www.saebo.com/right-brain-stroke-recovery/
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