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Eur J Radiol. 2012 Oct;81(10):2811-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2011.10.022. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

Effect of visual experience on structural organization of the human brain: a voxel based morphometric study using DARTEL.

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NMR Research Centre, Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (DRDO), Lucknow Road, Timarpur, Delhi, India. modi



To investigate structural reorganization in the brain with differential visual experience using Voxel-Based Morphometry with Diffeomorphic Anatomic Registration Through Exponentiated Lie algebra algorithm (DARTEL) approach.


High resolution structural MR images were taken in fifteen normal sighted healthy controls, thirteen totally blind subjects and six partial blind subjects. The analysis was carried out using SPM8 software on MATLAB 7.6.0 platform.


VBM study revealed gray matter volume atrophy in the cerebellum and left inferior parietal cortex in total blind subjects and in left inferior parietal cortex, right caudate nucleus, and left primary visual cortex in partial blind subjects as compared to controls. White matter volume loss was found in calcarine gyrus in total blind subjects and Thlamus-somatosensory region in partially blind subjects as compared to controls. Besides, an increase in Gray Matter volume was also found in left middle occipital and middle frontal gyrus and right entorhinal cortex, and an increase in White Matter volume was found in superior frontal gyrus, left middle temporal gyrus and right Heschl's gyrus in totally blind subjects as compared to controls. Comparison between total and partial blind subjects revealed a greater Gray Matter volume in left cerebellum of partial blinds and left Brodmann area 18 of total blind subjects.


Results suggest that, loss of vision at an early age can induce significant structural reorganization on account of the loss of visual input. These plastic changes are different in early onset of total blindness as compared to partial blindness.

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