August 2023
Volume 23, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2023
Sensorimotor reorganization in visual cortex in brain-damaged individuals with primary somatosensory damage
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jared Medina
    University of Delaware
  • Yuqi Liu
    University of Delaware
    Chinese Academy of Neuroscience
  • Elizabeth J. Halfen
    Baylor College of Medicine
  • Jeffrey M. Yau
    Baylor College of Medicine
  • Simon Fischer-Baum
    Rice University
  • Peter Kohler
    York University
  • Olufunsho Faseyitan
    University of Pennsylvania
  • H. Branch Coslett
    University of Pennsylvania
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1632849.
Journal of Vision August 2023, Vol.23, 5586. doi:
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      Jared Medina, Yuqi Liu, Elizabeth J. Halfen, Jeffrey M. Yau, Simon Fischer-Baum, Peter Kohler, Olufunsho Faseyitan, H. Branch Coslett; Sensorimotor reorganization in visual cortex in brain-damaged individuals with primary somatosensory damage. Journal of Vision 2023;23(9):5586.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Cortical reorganization after lesions to primary somatosensory cortex (S1) has been studied extensively in animal models, yet little is known regarding post-stroke sensorimotor plasticity in humans. We examined two brain-damaged individuals, LS and RF, who suffered lesions in the hand area of right S1 and posterior parietal cortex with spared motor cortex. Behavioral investigations revealed expected deficits in tactile detection and tactile localization in the contralesional limb in both patients, while the ability to perform simple hand movements was preserved. We then conducted functional neuroimaging experiments in which they received tactile stimulation or performed hand movements (opening-closing the fist). For LS, whose damage encompassed the entire hand area of S1, tactile stimulation on the contralesional right hand activated secondary somatosensory area (S2) and middle temporal gyrus. RF’s lesion was slightly different with a spared strip of S1 along the posterior bank of the central sulcus. When presented with tactile stimuli, she demonstrated activation in spared S1. When moving the contralesional hand, RF showed bilateral activity in sensorimotor cortex, whereas LS showed stronger activation in bilateral putamen and deactivation in ipsilateral cerebellum, indicating reweighting in the motor system. Surprisingly, when moving the contralesional hand, both patients showed significantly greater activation in lateral occipital cortex compared to eight age-matched controls. These results suggest the recruitment of body representations in visual areas after damage to somatosensory cortex, either due to increased visual imagery of the limbs due to reduced sensory feedback or some form of post-stroke plasticity and/or reweighting.


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