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Geraint Rees; Functional MRI of the human LGN and subcortical pathways. Journal of Vision 2008;8(17):2. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/8.17.2.
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Subcortical nuclei, particularly those in the thalamus, may play an important role in human brain function. They provide challenging targets for functional neuroimaging because of their small size and deep locations. In this talk I will discuss recent studies from our group investigating subcortical nuclei in the retinotectal and geniculostriate visual pathways. Focusing particularly on the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of the thalamus, I will present data suggesting that signals in the LGN are correlated with conscious visual perception of brightness and during binocular rivalry. Such observations present challenges to conventional views of thalamic function but also raise important new questions for further investigation. Preliminary data suggest that novel approaches using high spatial resolution fMRI show great promise in permitting decoding of local spatial patterns of thalamic activity to reveal the selectivities of neuronal populations in the human LGN.
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