Visual cortical plasticity

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The visual cortex is the part of our brain that processes information that receives from the retina and helps us to perceive the visual world. The primary visual cortex (V1) is the main source of feed-forward visual information to higher order visual cortical areas. If V1 or its inputs are damaged as a result of stroke or other brain lesions this leads to a loss of conscious vision in the affected region of the contralateral visual hemifield which is called scotoma. Cortical blindness affects many activities on a patient's daily life such as driving, reading, and navigating complex visual environments while there are currently no widely accepted treatment options available. Understanding brain repair processes is an important step in the effort to design treatments aimed at enhancing the ability of the nervous system to recover after injury.

I study visual cortical plasticity in human subjects with lesions of the visual pathway. The aim is to map visual cortex organization after injury, gathering information about the role that specific networks of brain areas play in cortical reorganization and recovery. This is done by: 1) Mapping changes in human visual cortex organization and comparing with control subjects without lesion, and 2) Determining whether rehabilitative training increases the degree of cortical reorganization.