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Abstract #3414

Mapping anatomical connectivity: a Structural Network Analysis in Early and Profoundly Deaf people.

Francesca Saviola1, Lisa Novello1, Chiara Maffei2, Stefania Benetti1, Ceren Battal3, Stefania Mattioni3, Olivier Marie Claire Collignon1,3, and Jorge Jovicich1

1CIMeC, Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Rovereto (TN), Italy, 2Athinoula A. Martinos Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, United States, 3Institute of Research in Psychology (IPSY) and in Neuroscience (IoNS), University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

In case of early acquired deafness, auditory deprived temporal regions massively enhance their response to stimuli from remaining senses. This so called cross-modal plasticity also alters functional connectivity between reorganized temporal regions and those from preserved senses. The extent and distribution of white matter structural alterations supporting these functional effects are still poorly understood. In this diffusion MRI study, we investigate white matter reorganization of early deaf relative to hearing controls. Further, since early deaf typically become fluent at sign language, which may itself also induce brain structural reorganization unrelated to deafness, we also include a group of hearing signers.

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