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Theses

Les fonctions cognitives du cortex visuel dans la cécité précoce

Abstract : Blindness early in life leads to major changes in the functional architecture of the brain. The occipital lobes, no longer processing visual information, turn to processing auditory and tactile input and high-order cognitive functions such as language and memory. This functional reorganization offers a window into the influence of experience on brain development in humans. We studied the outcomes of this reorganization and its potential precursors. First, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in order to delineate regions in the visual cortex according to their sensitivity to high-order cognitive functions. Then, using functional connectivity, we demonstrated distinct connections from those regions to the rest of the brain. Crucially, we found a functional correspondence between the visual regions and their connected brain networks. Then, using functional connectivity in neonates, we provided preliminary evidence in support of the proposition that innate connectivity biases underlie functional reorganization. Second, we focused on language, one of the reorganized functions in blindness, and used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate verbal semantic processing. We found temporally equivalent but spatially different activation across the blind and the sighted. In the blind, the occipital cortex had a unique contribution to semantic category discrimination. However, the cerebral implementation of semantic categories was more variable in the blind than in the sighted. Our results advance the knowledge about brain.
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Sami Abboud. Les fonctions cognitives du cortex visuel dans la cécité précoce. Neurons and Cognition [q-bio.NC]. Sorbonne Université, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SORUS038⟩. ⟨tel-02121054⟩

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