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Abstract #0809

Primary Visual Cortex Activation Induced by Tactile Stimulation in Individuals with Retinitis Pigmentosa

Samantha I. Cunningham1, James D. Weiland, Pinglei Bao2, Bosco S. Tjan, 23

1Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States; 2Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Southern California; 3Dept. of Psychology, University of Southern California

FMRI was used to assess the inter-subject variability of visual cortex reorganization in individuals suffering from retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative retinal disease resulting in tunnel vision and eventual loss of sight. BOLD responses were measured as RP and sighted control groups completed two tactile discrimination tasks during successive scans in a 3T Siemens scanner. We found that vision deprivation leads to elevated activation of the visual cortex elicited with tactile stimuli, while the degree and location of activation in the primary visual cortex correlates with the degree and location of visual field loss.