The ‘side effect’: The influence of left versus right sided spatial neglect at functional outcome measures
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The aim of the current study was to investigate the influence of the side (left versus right) and distance (near versus far) at which spatial neglect (SN) occurs, on the life of patients. In total, 277 stroke patients were screened within the first two weeks after their admission to a rehabilitation center. A Line Bisection Test and an Object Cancellation Test were used to measure the presence of SN. Rehabilitation data were used to research the functioning of patients in various areas: the Motricity Index of Arm and Leg for motor function, the Barthel Index and Catherine Bergego Scale (CBS) for independency in activities of daily living, the Stichting Afasie Nederland-scale for communication and the Mini-Mental Status Examination for cognitive functioning. Right sided neglect (RSN+) patients had significantly less motor functioning problems in the lower extremities than patients with left sided neglect (LSN+). Furthermore, LSN+ patients had higher scores on the CBS, which indicated more SN behaviour, in comparison with patients without SN. There was no significant difference between LSN+, RSN+ and SN- patients on other functional outcome measures. The frequency of patients within the near, far or near/far neglect groups did not differ significantly between LSN+ and RSN+ patients. A follow-up study which includes side of hemisphere and the specific lesion location is recommended. Concerning the CBS we recommend a replication of the study with larger groups and an expansion of it with a factor or cluster analysis. This may lead to more insight of possible differences in SN behaviour between LSN+ and RSN+ patients and can lead to more customized observation and treatment in hospitals and rehabilitation centers.