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A Cortically Blind Patient With Preserved Visual Imagery

Zago, Stefano PsyD*; Corti, Stefania MD*; Bersano, Anna MD*; Baron, Pierluigi MD*; Conti, Giancarlo MD*; Ballabio, Elena MD*; Lanfranconi, Silvia MD*; Cinnante, Claudia MD; Costa, Antonella MD; Cappellari, Alberto MD*; Bresolin, Nereo MD*

Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology: March 2010 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - pp 44-48
doi: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e3181bf2e6e
Case Reports

Background/Objective: The loss or preservation of visual imagery in patients with cortical blindness may be helpful in resolving the controversial roles assigned by some researchers to the early visual cortex during the process of visual imagery.

Patient and Methods: Here we report a patient with complete permanent cortical blindness coupled with denial of the blindness (Anton syndrome) as a result of bilateral occipital infarction.

Results: Interestingly, the patient's ability to visualize objects, color, and spatial imagery was preserved, although cerebral computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission tomography scans detected what was likely complete bilateral damage to the primary visual cortex.

Conclusions: Our findings may support the hypothesis that the primary visual cortex, in which retinal spatial geometry is preserved, is not critical for visual imagery.

*Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche

Dipartimento di Scienze Neuroradiologiche, Università di Milano, Fondazione IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena, Milano, Italy

Reprints: Stefano Zago, PsyD, Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche, Università degli studi di Milano, IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena, via Francesco Sforza 35, 20122 Milano, Italy (e-mail: stefano.zago@unimi.it).

Received for publication February 27, 2009

accepted August 30, 2009

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.