Frontal and parieto-temporal cortical ablations and diaschisis-like effects on auditory neurocognitive potentials evocable from apparently intact ipsilateral association areas in humans: Five case reports

Roberto Zappoli, Federico Zappoli, Anna Picchiecchio, Roberta Chiaramonti, Maria Grazia Arneodo, Giorgia D. Zappoli Thyrion, Vanni Zerauschek

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The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of disruption on the warning auditory S1-elicited ERP and CNV complexes recordable on the site and on remote ipsilateral apparently normal anatomo-functionally interconnected brain regions. These effects in some cases showed aspects of a probable diaschisis-like phenomenon, due to resections of extensive frontal association cortex or of primary and secondary sensory parieto-temporal areas damaged by differing pathological processes. Using a standard CNV paradigm, 21/19 EEG electrodes connected with three different references, and scalp-topographic bidimensional mapping analysis, the S1 auditory binaural/monaural clicks N1a,b,c, P2, N2, P3 and CNV waves were recorded in 10 normal subjects and 11 patients. Nine of the latter had been submitted to unilateral frontal dorsolateral cortex ablation, one to bihemispheric dorsomedial cortex ablation, and one to unilateral ablation of sensory parieto-temporal cortex and underlying white matter, verified through CT/MRI examinations. No true S1ERP/CNV components were recordable over the ablated cortical areas, whereas normal ERP/CNV complexes were observable on the intact hemispheres. In five patients, four of whom with frontocortical ablations, the S1 ERP/CNV complexes appeared severely diminished or disrupted, in two cases in a slow, partially-reversible manner, also in the neuroradiologically normal ipsilateral functionally-connected post-rolandic sensory and association areas. Similar deactivation of some ERP components was observed in reverse on the unilateral dorsolateral frontocortical region in the fifth patient with parieto-temporal cortex ablation. Even when they are partially reversible, these ipsilateral remote ERP changes in apparently intact brain regions, due to ablations of functionally-interconnected cortical formations, probably reflect cortical deactivation or simply dysfacilitation deriving from functional unilateral diaschisis. If these changes are instead irreversible they may probably be interpreted as transneuronal degeneration phenomena, though they are not at present easy to document either neuroradiologically or electroclinically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-142
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002



  • CNV
  • ERPs
  • Frontal parieto-temporal cortex ablations
  • Remote ipsilateral diaschisis effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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