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Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 Dec 17;8:971. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00971. eCollection 2014.

Anatomical and functional plasticity in early blind individuals and the mixture of experts architecture.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Washington Seattle, WA, USA.

Abstract

As described elsewhere in this special issue, recent advances in neuroimaging over the last decade have led to a rapid expansion in our knowledge of anatomical and functional correlations within the normal and abnormal human brain. Here, we review how early blindness has been used as a model system for examining the role of visual experience in the development of anatomical connections and functional responses. We discuss how lack of power in group comparisons may provide a potential explanation for why extensive anatomical changes in cortico-cortical connectivity are not observed. Finally we suggest a framework-cortical specialization via hierarchical mixtures of experts-which offers some promise in reconciling a wide range of functional and anatomical data.

KEYWORDS:

DTI; anatomical connectivity; anophthalmia; blind; fMRI; functional connectivity; plasticity; review

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