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Heminegligencia: patients for whom the left side does not exist

Heminegligencia: patients for whom the left side does not exist

July 19, 2024

Heminegligence, or unilateral spatial neglect , is a neurological disorder that is expressed in a very strange way in patients who suffer from it. In particular, it makes the person, apparently maintaining a normal degree of consciousness, unable to recognize stimuli that come from one side of his body.

In this article you can see the symptoms associated with the heminegligencia, its possible causes and the treatments related to the appropriate medical intervention for this type of patients.

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What is heminegligencia? Going into detail

Heminegligencia can refer to two similar phenomena. On the one hand, can be used to refer to a symptom , and on the other it is also possible to use it as equivalent to the denomination of "unilateral negligence syndrome", which is the neurological disorder to which the symptom corresponds.


As a symptom, heminegligence is the inability to consciously notice elements that come from one side with respect to the axis that crosses the body from the forehead to the nape.

On the other hand, the syndrome of unilateral negligence is the clinical picture of a person who apparently does not pay attention to anything that is located on one of its sides (or, more technically, one of its hemispheres), which means that he does not consciously perceive it nor does he perform actions located in that half of the hemibody .

For example, a person with heminegligencia will not be able to notice a dog that is located to the left of its visual field, but neither will be able to completely shave the beard: it will only shave the half of the face.


On the other hand, if a person is asked negligently to draw a square as he is looking at it, he will only draw one half, but if he changes his position and looks at it from the opposite side to the previous one, he will draw the half that it had been omitted and not the other.

The clock test to detect this syndrome

So, one of the typical tests used in clinics to know if a person presents heminegligencia is to ask him to draw a clock . If you suffer from this syndrome, you will only draw one of the halves, and the other will either not be drawn or appear clearly "atrophied".

Usually, the body that is "ignored" by people with heminegligencia is the left , so the clock will be drawn in a way that the hand can not go beyond 6 or 7.

symptom

Some of the typical symptoms of the syndrome of spatial neglect are the following:


  • Inability to detect events that occur in one of the halves of the visual field.
  • Problems to notice slight sounds that are captured mainly by the ear of the affected body.
  • Inability to draw one of the halves of a scene or figure.
  • Problems getting dressed, shaving or maintaining personal hygiene.
  • Disorganization in the chains of actions that they undertake.
  • Frequent disorientation , not knowing how the sites have been reached, or not recognizing them.
  • Memory problems are common.

Causes of unilateral spatial neglect

The most frequent causes of heminegligencia tend to be ischemic accidents that leave blood circulation to certain parts of the brain and kill neurons in that area. So that, cerebral infarction is usually in the medical history of this type of patients.

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It's a problem of attention

Although the heminegligencia seems to be a problem that leaves completely ignored one of the halves of the body (and the visual field) the certain thing is that fundamentally it is a problem of attention that affects the information that arrives from one of the hemicuerpos. This is known because, at an unconscious level, it has been seen that people with this neurological condition yes they react to stimuli captured only from the affected side .

For example, if you show them the drawing of a house whose left side is on fire, they will ensure that you see a normal house. However, if right after they are asked to select certain words, they tend to choose those related to the semantic field of fire and fires.

Also, if presented a photograph of two people being a friend or family member on the left , they will say they do not see anyone they know, but the parts of the brain that are activated when they see something familiar will be activated, something that will not happen when presenting two photographs of unknown people.

The heminegligencia causes that the perception of the information that arrives from the left (usually) is masked, but that does not mean that it does not exist in any degree of intensity. It is not "blindness" to one half of the body.

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Treatments

Normally, the disease that causes the heminegligencia is severe enough so that this disorder never completely disappears , although it may improve a little over time, because of the neuronal plasticity.

For this reason, the treatments used are palliative, related to the learning of methods to take a day to day as normal as possible. Of course, almost always need regular assistance.


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