Attentional Characteristics of Developmental Right Hemi-Sphere Syndrome
Yael E. Landau, Varda Gross-Tsur
Neuropediatric Unit, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem
Developmental right hemisphere syndrome (DRHS) is characterized by emotional and interpersonal difficulties, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), visuo-spatial handicaps, subtle left body neurologic signs and failure in nonverbal academic domains, especially arithmetic. Concurrence of ADHD and DRHS is not surprising because research has implicated dysfunction of the right hemisphere in both syndromes. Furthermore, the right hemisphere has more brain areas devoted to attentional processing, making it more important and more vulnerable in attentional problems.
We describe the clinical parameters of DRHS as exemplified by 2 cases, a boy and a girl, both 13 years old. They participated in a study group in which attention and speed of performance were assessed in children with DRHS and were compared to children with ADHD and to a control group. A tendency to overfocusing, difficulty in inhibition, perseverative behaviors, stereotypy, and slowness and absence of hyperactivity characterized the DRHS group. These behaviors led us to hypothesize that the attentional symptoms in DRHS define a specific subgroup of ADHD which requires a different therapeutic approach.