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December 1987

Response Preparation and Response Inhibition After Lesions of the Medial Frontal Lobe

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, University of Florida (Drs Verfaellie and Heilman), and Veterans Administration Medical Center (Dr Heilman), Gainesville, Fla. Dr Verfaellie is now with the Memory Disorder Research Center, Boston Veterans Administration Medical Center and Boston University.

Arch Neurol. 1987;44(12):1265-1271. doi:10.1001/archneur.1987.00520240045010

• Two patients with chronic unilateral medial frontal lobe lesions, including the supplementary motor area, were given tasks of response preparation and response inhibition. Whereas the patient with a left-sided lesion, like normal controls, did benefit from preparatory information regarding a subsequent response, the patient with a right-sided lesion did not. On a task requiring the inhibition of an inappropriate response, the patient with a left-sided lesion again performed normally. Conversely, the patient with a right-sided lesion had significant problems inhibiting the extremity contralateral to the lesion. We postulate that the medial frontal lobe may participate in response preparation and response inhibition by modulating the levels of excitability of the motor systems. Our findings also suggest that the right hemisphere may have a dominant role in mediating these processes.