Plasticity

Ed Ergenzinger ergenzin at bgsm.edu
Tue Jun 2 10:53:10 EST 1998


>
>
> I've read of neurons in the visual system becoming responsive to auditory
> stimuli after denervation or sensory deprivation...details escape me.  Something
> like synesthesia perhaps.  Does this count as a change in sensory function?

There have been recent imaging studies in humans showing that primary
visual cortex in the congenitally blind is active during braille reading.
It has also been shown that disruption of this activity via TMS interferes
with braille reading.  Rather than synesthesia this indicates that the
primary visual cortex is in fact recruited for tactual processing in the
congenitally blind.  (Look up papers by L. Cohen and M. Hallett from
NINDS).
BTW, at the Society for Neuroscience meeting this past year, it is my
recollection that the same group showed that among individuals who were
not congenitally blind but became blind later in childhood, the same
activation  of primary visual cortex during braille reading was not
observed.




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