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Abstract #2044

Auditory topographic maps in the congenitally blind brain: Effects of NORDIC de-noising and sensory substitution training

Giles Hamilton-Fletcher1, Russell W. Chan1,2, Matthew C. Murphy3, Joel S. Schuman1, Amy C. Nau4,5, and Kevin C. Chan1
1Department of Ophthalmology, New York University Langone Health, New York, NY, United States, 2Neuroscience Institute, New York University Langone Health, New York City, NY, United States, 3Mayo Clinic Rochester, Rochester, MN, United States, 4Korb and associates, Boston, MA, United States, 5Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, United States


Sensory substitution devices (SSDs) can represent the structure of visual space through sound. To determine whether this representation is topographically organized in the congenitally blind brain, we used NORDIC de-noising and population receptive field mapping (pRF) to correlate functional brain changes to changes in sound stimulus verticality (frequency) and laterality (panning/timing) following SSD principles. We show that NORDIC significantly increased temporal signal-to-noise ratios and activation areas in subjects’ auditory cortices. PRF revealed that auditory topographic maps representing verticality and laterality emerged in occipital-parietal cortices of 3/7 congenitally blind subjects only after 10-minutes of SSD training, indicating rapid cross-modal cortical recruitment.

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