Plasticity of the visual system after early brain damage

Guzzetta, Andrea, D'Acunto, Giulia, Rose, Stephen, Tinelli, Francesca, Boyd, Roslyn and Cioni, Giovanni (2010) Plasticity of the visual system after early brain damage. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 52 10: 891-900. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8749.2010.03710.x


Author Guzzetta, Andrea
D'Acunto, Giulia
Rose, Stephen
Tinelli, Francesca
Boyd, Roslyn
Cioni, Giovanni
Title Plasticity of the visual system after early brain damage
Journal name Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0012-1622
1469-8749
Publication date 2010-10
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2010.03710.x
Volume 52
Issue 10
Start page 891
End page 900
Total pages 10
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract The aim of this review is to discuss the existing evidence supporting different processes of visual brain plasticity after early damage, as opposed to damage that occurs during adulthood. There is initial evidence that some of the neuroplastic mechanisms adopted by the brain after early damage to the visual system are unavailable at a later stage. These are, for example, the ability to differentiate functional tissue within a larger dysplastic cortex during its formation, or to develop new thalamo-cortical connections able to bypass the lesion and reach their cortical destination in the occipital cortex. The young brain also uses the same mechanisms available at later stages of development but in a more efficient way. For example, in people with visual field defects of central origin, the anatomical expansion of the extrastriatal visual network is greater after an early lesion than after a later one, which results in more efficient mechanisms of visual exploration of the blind field. A similar mechanism is likely to support some of the differences found in people with blindsight, the phenomenon of unconscious visual perception in the blind field. In particular, compared with people with late lesions, those with early brain damage appear to have stronger subjective awareness of stimuli hitting the blind visual field, reported as a conscious feeling that something is present in the visual field. Expanding our knowledge of these mechanisms could help the development of early therapeutic interventions aimed at supporting and enhancing visual reorganization at a time of greatest potential brain plasticity. © The Authors. Journal compilation © Mac Keith Press 2010.
Keyword Homonymous Hemianopia
Occipital Lobe
Periventricular Leukomalacia
Field Defects
Somatosensory System
Cortical Development
Perinatal Stroke
Residual Vision
Preterm Infants
Striate Cortex
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 15 JUN 2010

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
Official 2011 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
Centre for Advanced Imaging Publications
 
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Created: Sun, 03 Oct 2010, 00:06:47 EST