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Dichotic listening in patients with partial section of the corpus callosum

M. Sugishita , K. Otomo , K. Yamazaki , H. Shimizu , M. Yoshioka , A. Shinohara
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/118.2.417 417-427 First published online: 1 April 1995

Summary

Patients with a complete section of the corpus callosum have been observed to exhibit strong left-ear suppression when different speech stimuli are presented to both ears simultaneously (so-called dichotic listening). Data concerning the locus of corpus callosum damage that causes strong left-ear suppression remains scanty. In the present investigation, a consonant-vowel syllable dichotic listening test was given to five right-handed patients with partial sections of the corpus callosum, which were located using MRI and accurately defined measurement procedures. The following two measurement methods were used: (i) the genu-splenium (G-S) method, in which a lesion was localized in the antero-posterior dimension relative to the total length of the corpus callosum, defined as the distance between the most anterior point of the genu to the most posterior point of the splenium; and (ii) the rostrum splenium (R-S) method, which takes into account the curvature of the corpus callosum, and in which a lesion was localized relative to the total length of the corpus callosum, defined as the length of the curved line from the tip of the rostrum to the end of the splenium. Results were compared with scores from 50 normal control subjects. Strong left-ear suppression was observed in two patients, who had surgical sections of the posterior 15.5–18.5% of the corpus callosum as measured with the G-S method, or the posterior 20–24% of the corpus callosum as measured with the R-S method. The suppression phenomemon persisted for more than 10 years post-surgery. On the other hand, the remaining three patients, who had lesions anterior to the posterior 17–28% of the corpus callosum as measured with the G-S method or 20–33% as measured with the R-S method exhibited no left-ear extinction. Despite the common assumption that damage to the posterior part of the trunk of the corpus callosum causes strong left-ear suppression, the results from the G-S method indicated that damage to the splenium defined as the posterior one-fifth of the segment between the anterior-most and posterior-most points of the corpus callosum, cause strong left-ear suppression. By the R-S method, results showed that damage to the splenium (the posterior one-fifth of the curvature of the corpus callosum) and possibly the part extending to the most posterior part of the trunk (the posterior one-quarter of the curvature) causes strong left-ear suppression.

  • corpus callosum
  • dichotic listening
  • auditory function

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