The pulvinar is primarily referred to for its role in visual processing. However, the ‘visual pulvinar’ only encompasses the inferior and lateral regions of this complex thalamic nucleus. The remaining medial portion (medial pulvinar, PM) establishes distinct cortical connectivity and has been associated with directed attention, executive functions and working memory. These functions are particularly impaired in neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), both of which have been associated with abnormal PM architecture and connectivity. With these disorders becoming more prevalent in modern societies, we review the literature to better understand how the PM can participate in the pathophysiology of cognitive disorders and how a better understanding of the development and function of this thalamic nucleus, which is most likely exclusive to the primate brain, can advance clinical research and treatments.
- cognitive disorders