Dissociated functional connectivity profiles for motor and attention deficits in acute right-hemisphere stroke

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Abstract

Strokes often cause multiple behavioural deficits that are correlated at the population level. Here, we show that motor and attention deficits are selectively associated with abnormal patterns of resting state functional connectivity in the dorsal attention and motor networks. We measured attention and motor deficits in 44 right hemisphere-damaged patients with a first-time stroke at 1–2 weeks post-onset. The motor battery included tests that evaluated deficits in both upper and lower extremities. The attention battery assessed both spatial and non-spatial attention deficits. Summary measures for motor and attention deficits were identified through principal component analyses on the raw behavioural scores. Functional connectivity in structurally normal cortex was estimated based on the temporal correlation of blood oxygenation level-dependent signals measured at rest with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Any correlation between motor and attention deficits and between functional connectivity in the dorsal attention network and motor networks that might spuriously affect the relationship between each deficit and functional connectivity was statistically removed. We report a double dissociation between abnormal functional connectivity patterns and attention and motor deficits, respectively. Attention deficits were significantly more correlated with abnormal interhemispheric functional connectivity within the dorsal attention network than motor networks, while motor deficits were significantly more correlated with abnormal interhemispheric functional connectivity patterns within the motor networks than dorsal attention network. These findings indicate that functional connectivity patterns in structurally normal cortex following a stroke link abnormal physiology in brain networks to the corresponding behavioural deficits.

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