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Top-Down Attentional Control of Visual-Processing

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01087281
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : March 16, 2010
Last Update Posted : February 10, 2020
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) )

Brief Summary:

Background:

- Previous studies have shown that people with certain types of brain damage may have particular problems paying attention and processing things that they see. Researchers are interested in comparing how people with brain damage and without brain damage process visual images.

Objectives:

- To better understand the areas of the brain involved in paying attention to things that are seen.

Eligibility:

- Individuals at least 18 years of age who either have had damage to one or both sides of specific parts of the brain (e.g., stroke, injury, certain neurosurgery procedures) or are healthy volunteers.

Design:

  • The study involves 4 to 10 visits to the NIH Clinical Center over 1 to 2 years. Each visit will last approximately 2 hours.
  • Participants will be screened with a medical history and physical examination, and may have the cognitive testing described below during the same visit.
  • On the first visit and for at least one visit thereafter, participants will have cognitive testing to evaluate thinking and memory. These tests will be either written tests or computer-based tests.
  • Some participants will qualify for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as part of the study. This part will involve a decision-making task that will be performed on a computer during the fMRI scan. Additional scans may be required as directed by the study doctors.
  • Some randomly selected participants will be asked to have magnetoencephalography (MEG), a procedure to record very small magnetic field changes produced by brain activity.
  • During the behavioral training, or fMRI or MEG scanning, participants may be monitored with equipment to track eye movements.

Condition or disease
Focal Brain Lesion Focal Lesions fMRI

Detailed Description:

Attention is required for most, if not all, perceptual processes. There is a converging body of evidence from single-cell recording studies in monkeys and neuroimaging, behavioral, and clinical studies in humans showing that the processing of attended information is enhanced relative to the processing of unattended information.

What is the source of this attentional modulation? Because neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that multiple cortical regions are recruited during tasks involving selective attention, it has proven difficult thus far to determine the differential contributions of each region. A central goal of the proposed research is to characterize the contributions of prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex and test the hypothesis that these regions exert top-down modulatory influences over visual processing areas. Specifically, we wish to investigate the interaction between areas involved in attentional control and visual areas modulated by attention.

We propose to study patients with focal lesions and healthy volunteers while they perform tasks requiring attention. Subjects will participate, first, in a series of behavioral studies involving selective attention; the relative performance of different patient groups and neurologically healthy volunteers will be compared. Subjects will also be studied while performing similar tasks during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We hypothesize that selective attention will be heavily impaired by lesions of key prefrontal (e.g., dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and key parietal (e.g., superior parietal lobule) sites. We also expect that brain imaging data will show decreased activation in visual regions ipsilateral to the focal lesions in prefrontal and parietal cortex, thus providing evidence that prefrontal and parietal cortex are sources of top-down modulation. Although other research groups have compared the behavior of patients with various focal lesions or have performed fMRI studies of visual attention in neurologically normal patients, we are unaware of any concerted effort to perform fMRI in patients with focal lesions in order to functionally isolate the contributions of individual cortical regions that serve as critical nodes in the attentional network.

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Study Type : Observational
Estimated Enrollment : 132 participants
Observational Model: Case-Control
Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
Official Title: Top-Down Attentional Control of Visual-Processing
Actual Study Start Date : July 23, 2012

Group/Cohort
1
Neurologically normal healthy volunteers in good general health.
2
Patients with unilateral or bilateral focal lesions of prefrontal, parietal, occipital or temporal cortex, or amygdala.



Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. MRI signal across the whole brain during the MRI scans [ Time Frame: Ongoing ]
    The MRI signal varies with cortical area and with the stimuli and tasks performed by the subjects.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. To determine the differential top-down contributions of prefrontal and parietal regions in processes selective and sustain attention, filtering of distracter information, orienting of attention, and attention engagement and disengagement.


Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.


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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Healthy volunteers 18 years of age or older who are neurologically normal and in good general health. Patients 18 years of age or older with unilateral or bilateral focal lesions of prefrontal, parietal, occipital or temporal cortex, or amygdala.
Criteria
  • INCLUSION CRITERIA:

All Subjects

  1. All subjects will be 18 years of age or older and have at least a high school education.
  2. Capacity to provide their own informed consent, understand and cooperate with study procedures.

Patients:

  1. Unilateral or bilateral focal lesions of prefrontal, parietal, occipital or temporal cortex, or amygdala.
  2. At least three months post-stroke, lobectomy and or neurosurgical resection.

Healthy volunteers:

1. Neurologically normal and in good general health.

EXCLUSION CRITERIA

Patients:

  1. Any neurological or psychiatric disorder not related to the focal lesion (e.g., epilepsy, schizophrenia, etc.). Epilepsy patients who have undergone surgery and as a result are seizure free may be recruited.
  2. Previous head injury.
  3. Present or past (within past 6 months) drug or alcohol abuse or addiction as determined by a qualified study neurologist/psychiatrist.
  4. Radiation treatment to the brain during a three-month period prior to the experiment.
  5. NIMH staff and their immediate family are excluded from participation.

Healthy Volunteers:

  1. Any neurological or psychiatric disorder (e.g., epilepsy, schizophrenia, etc.)
  2. Previous head injury.
  3. Present or past (within past 6 months) drug or alcohol abuse or addiction based on DSM-5 criteria as determined during History and Physical exam.
  4. NIMH staff and their immediate family are excluded from participation.

ADDITIONAL EXCLUSION CRITERIA FOR MRI SCAN:

Patients and Healthy volunteers:

  1. Women who are pregnant and women of child-bearing potential who refuse to undergo a urine pregnancy test will be excluded from fMRI experiments but included in cognitive experiments.
  2. Subjects who have contraindications to MRI scanning will be excluded from FMRI experiments but included in cognitive experiments. These contraindications include:

    1. central nervous system aneurysm clips;
    2. implanted neural stimulator;
    3. implanted cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator;
    4. cochlear implant;
    5. ocular foreign body (e.g., metal shavings);
    6. insulin pump;
    7. metal shrapnel or bullet;
    8. any implanted device that is incompatible with MRI.
  3. Conditions that preclude scanning, e.g., morbid obesity, claustrophobia.

ADDITIONAL EXCLUSION CRITERIA FOR TASKS INVOLVING COLOR DISCRIMINATION:

Patients and Healthy volunteers:

Subjects who are determined during screening or history and physical exam to be color-blind will be excluded from participating in certain tasks that involve color discrimination.


Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT01087281


Contacts
Layout table for location contacts
Contact: Hannah R Wild (301) 435-4944 hannah.wild@nih.gov
Contact: Leslie G Ungerleider, Ph.D. (301) 435-4932 ungerlel@intra.nimh.nih.gov

Locations
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United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact Office of Patient Recruitment (OPR)    800-411-1222 ext TTY8664111010    prpl@cc.nih.gov   
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Leslie G Ungerleider, Ph.D. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Additional Information:
Publications:
Publications automatically indexed to this study by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number):
Layout table for additonal information
Responsible Party: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01087281    
Other Study ID Numbers: 100047
10-M-0047
First Posted: March 16, 2010    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: February 10, 2020
Last Verified: February 5, 2020
Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ):
Visual Attention
Visual Cortex
Focal Lesions
Neurological Disorder
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
Focal Brain Lesion
Healthy Volunteer
HV