Whole brain functional connectivity in the early blind

Liu, Yong, Yu, Chunshui, Liang, Meng, Li, Jun, Tian, Lixia, Zhou, Yuan, Qin, Wen, Li, Kuncheng and Jiang, Tianzi (2007) Whole brain functional connectivity in the early blind. Brain, 130 8: 2085-2096. doi:10.1093/brain/awm121

Author Liu, Yong
Yu, Chunshui
Liang, Meng
Li, Jun
Tian, Lixia
Zhou, Yuan
Qin, Wen
Li, Kuncheng
Jiang, Tianzi
Title Whole brain functional connectivity in the early blind
Journal name Brain   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-8950
Publication date 2007-05-28
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/brain/awm121
Volume 130
Issue 8
Start page 2085
End page 2096
Total pages 12
Place of publication Oxford
Publisher Oxford University Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Early visual deprivation can lead to changes in the brain, which may be explained by either of two hypotheses. The general loss hypothesis has been proposed to explain maladjustments, while the compensatory plasticity hypothesis may explain a superior ability in the use of the remaining senses. Most previous task-based functional MRI (fMRI) studies have supported the compensatory plasticity hypothesis, but it has been difficult to provide evidence to support the general loss hypothesis, since the blind cannot execute visual tasks. The study of resting state fMRI data may provide an opportunity to simultaneously detect the two aspects of changes in the blind. In this study, using a whole brain perspective, we investigated the decreased and increased functional connectivities in the early blind using resting state fMRI data. The altered functional connectivities were identified by comparing the correlation coefficients of each pair of brain regions of 16 early blind subjects (9 males; age range: 15.6–29.3 years, mean age: 22.1 years) with the corresponding coefficients of gender- and age-matched sighted volunteers. Compared with the sighted subjects, the blind demonstrated the decreased functional connectivities within the occipital visual cortices as well as between the occipital visual cortices and the parietal somatosensory, frontal motor and temporal multisensory cortices. Such differences may support the general loss hypothesis. However, we also found that the introduction of Braille earlier in life and for longer daily practice times produced stronger functional connectivities between these brain areas. These findings may support the compensatory plasticity hypothesis. Additionally, we found several increased functional connectivities between the occipital cortices and frontal language cortices in those with early onset of blindness, which indicate the predominance of compensatory plasticity. Our findings indicate that changes in the functional connectivities in the resting state may be an integrated reflection of general loss and compensatory plasticity when a single sensory modality is deprived.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
ERA 2012 Admin Only
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 125 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 134 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 20 Oct 2011, 22:25:27 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute