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Microstructural differences in the thalamus and thalamic radiations in the congenitally deaf.

Rebecca Lyness, C; Alvarez, I; Sereno, MI; MacSweeney, M; (2014) Microstructural differences in the thalamus and thalamic radiations in the congenitally deaf. Neuroimage , 100 pp. 347-357. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.05.077. Green open access

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Abstract

There is evidence of both crossmodal and intermodal plasticity in the deaf brain. Here, we investigated whether sub-cortical plasticity, specifically of the thalamus, contributed to this reorganisation. We contrasted diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging data from 13 congenitally deaf and 13 hearing participants, all of whom had learnt British Sign Language after 10years of age. Connectivity based segmentation of the thalamus revealed changes to mean and radial diffusivity in occipital and frontal regions, which may be linked to enhanced peripheral visual acuity, and differences in how visual attention is deployed in the deaf group. Using probabilistic tractography, tracts were traced between the thalamus and its cortical targets, and microstructural measurements were extracted from these tracts. Group differences were found in microstructural measurements of occipital, frontal, somatosensory, motor and parietal thalamo-cortical tracts. Our findings suggest that there is sub-cortical plasticity in the deaf brain, and that white matter alterations can be found throughout the deaf brain, rather than being restricted to, or focussed in the auditory cortex.

Type: Article
Title: Microstructural differences in the thalamus and thalamic radiations in the congenitally deaf.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.05.077
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.05.077
Additional information: © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
Keywords: Deafness, Diffusion weighted MRI, Neuroplasticity, Thalamus
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1432393
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