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Neuroreport. 2007 Oct 29;18(16):1703-7.

Time-dependent changes in cortical excitability after prolonged visual deprivation.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation applied to the occipital cortex can elicit phosphenes. Changes in the phosphene threshold provide a measure of visual cortex excitability. Phosphene threshold was measured in participants blindfolded for five consecutive days to assess the effects of prolonged visual deprivation on visual cortical excitability. After 48 h of blindfolding, an acute decrease in phosphene threshold was observed, followed by a significant increase by day 5. Phosphene threshold returned to preblindfold levels within 2 h of light re-exposure. Thus, light deprivation is characterized by a transient increase in visual cortical excitability, followed by a sustained decrease in visual cortex excitability that quickly returns to baseline levels after re-exposure to light.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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