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Reorganization of neural circuits in the blind on diffusion direction analysis

Park, Hae-Jeonga c d; Jeong, Seok-Ohf; Kim, Eung Yeopa c; Kim, Joong ilc d; Park, Haeilc; Oh, Maeng-Keunc; Kim, Dae-Jinc e; Kim, Sei Younga; Lee, Sung Chulb; Lee, Jong Dooa c d

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e3282f13e66

The neural reorganization of the visual cortex of early blind individuals was evaluated using voxel-by-voxel analysis of diffusion tensor images with regard to the diffusion direction, diffusion anisotropy and diffusivity. Reduced anisotropy and increased diffusivity was found mainly in the visual pathways of 18 early blind individuals as opposed to 25 sighted individuals. Alteration of the diffusion direction was detected not only in the visual pathways but also in nonvisual pathways such as the u fibers of the parietal lobe, the sagittal striatum, the pulvinar and the inferior and superior longitudinal fasciculi. The alteration of regional diffusion direction, reduced anisotropy and increased diffusivity in early blind individuals imply the neural reorganization for functional adaptation to the loss of visual input during the early development period.

Departments of aDiagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine


cResearch Institute of Radiological Science

dBK21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine

eDepartment of Biomedical Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul

fDepartment of Statistics, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Yong-In, Korea

Correspondence to Assistant Professor Hae-Jeong Park, PhD, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 134 Shinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 120-749, Korea

Tel: +82 2 2228 2363; fax: +82 2 393 3035; e-mail:

Received 21 July 2007; accepted 13 August 2007

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.