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Mark W. Greenlee, Stuart Anstis, Katharina Rosengarth, Markus Goldhacker, Sabine Brandl-Rühle, Tina Plank; Neural correlates of perceptual filling-in: fMRI evidence in the foveal projection zone of patients with central scotoma. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1303. doi: 10.1167/12.9.1303.
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Patients with juvenile retinal dystrophy often report that they are unaware of their central scotoma, suggesting the presence of perceptual filling-in. We used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to determine possible neural correlates of perceptual filling-in in patients with retinal distrophy and clinically established central scotoma in both eyes. The data of 5 patients (Stargardt disease, cone-rod dystrophy; mean age 45 yrs; scotoma diameter 10-20°) and of 5 normally sighted controls were analyzed. Fixation behaviour and perimetry were measured with a Nidek microperimeter. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed using a Siemens 3T Allegra scanner. We stimulated the central visual field (30 deg) with a vertically oriented, low spatial frequency (1 c/deg) high-contrast sinewave grating that was either a) continuous, or b) was interrupted by a central grey disk. The disk was either slightly larger than the scotoma (detectable on 75% of trials) or slightly smaller (detectable on 25% of trials). To control for attention, an eccentric fixation task was performed during scanning. Data were analyzed using SPM8 (GLM with ROI analysis to obtain percent signal change for foveal projection zone). Results: for all patients, the BOLD signal in the foveal projection area was significantly higher for the small disk (i.e., condition leading to complete filling-in) than for the large disk (i.e., no filling-in). This effect was absent in the control subjects. Our findings support the existence of an active neural process that leads to filling-in in patients with central visual field scotomata.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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