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Kelly Chang, Ivan Alvarez, Andrew Wagner, Holly Bridge, Ione Fine; Early blindness shapes cortical representations of auditory frequency. Journal of Vision 2019;19(8):66. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.8.66.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Early onset blindness has been linked to widespread plasticity within occipital cortex. Here, we examine the effects of early blindness on the cortical representation of auditory frequency within primary auditory cortex using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Tonotopic organization was measured by presenting subjects with ascending or descending pure tone stimuli ranging from 88 – 8000 Hz, or bandpass moving noise stimuli ranging from 100 - 3162 Hz. The frequency tuning of each fMRI voxel was characterized as a 1-dimensional Gaussian in log frequency space (Thomas et al., 2015). We observe narrower tuning bandwidths within primary auditory cortex in both early blind and anophthalmic individuals, providing the first evidence for changes in the tuning properties of human primary auditory cortex as a result of blindness.
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