Functions Of Cerebral White Matter

From the foregoing review of cerebral white matter disorders, it is apparent that a wide range of clinical manifestations can occur. Because disturbed functions can often be correlated with specific lesions, these clinical features provide an opportunity to consider the operations of the cerebral white matter in the normal brain. Although many questions remain unanswered about the role of white matter in the many different spheres of brain activity, it is possible to provide some detail on this topic and, by implication, a overview of the importance of white matter in general. These functions of cerebral white matter are differentiated between those that are neurologic and those that are neurobehavioral. This distinction is used to highlight the emerging understanding that white matter lesions may interfere with higher cognitive and emotional functions of the brain as well as elemental functions, such as vision, motor ability, and somatic sensation.

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