Visuomotor deficits in posterior cortical atrophy
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Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) is a rare clinical syndrome characterised by the predominance of higher-order visual disturbances. Deficits result from a progressive neurodegeneration of occipito-temporal and occipito-parietal cortices. Due to its relative scarcity, many common symptoms of PCA, such as visuomotor dysfunction, have yet to be fully investigated. The current study sought to explore the visuomotor abilities of four individuals with PCA by testing their ability to reach out and grasp real objects under various viewing conditions. The patients demonstrated many of the same deficits as those seen in individuals with optic ataxia, including impaired grip scaling to peripheral targets, poor selection of stable grasp sites, and evidence of ‘magnetic misreaching’ – a pathological reaching bias towards the point of visual fixation. Unlike individuals with pure optic ataxia, however, the patients in the current study showed symptoms indicative of damage to the ventral stream of visual processing, including abolished grip scaling during memory-guided grasping and an inability to differentiate objects based on their shape. This research increases our understanding of the visuomotor deficits associated with PCA. It also adds to our knowledge of how visual information is processed in the brain, including the complex interaction between vision for action and vision for perception.