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See detailTMS of the occipital cortex induces tactile sensations in the fingers of blind Braille readers
Ptito, M.; Fumal, Arnaud ULg; Maertens De Noordhout, Alain ULg et al

in Experimental Brain Research (2008), 184(2), 193-200

Various non-visual inputs produce cross-modal responses in the visual cortex of early blind subjects. In order to determine the qualitative experience associated with these occipital activations, we ... [more ▼]

Various non-visual inputs produce cross-modal responses in the visual cortex of early blind subjects. In order to determine the qualitative experience associated with these occipital activations, we systematically stimulated the entire occipital cortex using single pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in early blind subjects and in blindfolded seeing controls. Whereas blindfolded seeing controls reported only phosphenes following occipital cortex stimulation, some of the blind subjects reported tactile sensations in the fingers that were somatotopically organized onto the visual cortex. The number of cortical sites inducing tactile sensations appeared to be related to the number of hours of Braille reading per day, Braille reading speed and dexterity. These data, taken in conjunction with previous anatomical, behavioural and functional imaging results, suggest the presence of a polysynaptic cortical pathway between the somatosensory cortex and the visual cortex in early blind subjects. These results also add new evidence that the activity of the occipital lobe in the blind takes its qualitative expression from the character of its new input source, therefore supporting the cortical deference hypothesis. [less ▲]

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See detailfMRI study of hypnosis-induced analgesia
Boly, Mélanie ULg; Balteau, Evelyne ULg; Schnakers, Caroline ULg et al

in Journal of Neurology (2007, May), 254(Suppl. 3), 38-39

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See detailrTMS of the occipital cortex abolishes Braille reading and repetition priming in blind subjects
Kupers, R.; Pappens, M.; MAERTENS DE NOORDHOUT, Alain ULg et al

in Neurology (2007), 68(9), 691-693

To study the functional involvement of the visual cortex in Braille reading, we applied repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over midoccipital (MOC) and primary somatosensory (SI) cortex in ... [more ▼]

To study the functional involvement of the visual cortex in Braille reading, we applied repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over midoccipital (MOC) and primary somatosensory (SI) cortex in blind subjects. After rTMS of MOC, but not SI, subjects made significantly more errors and showed an abolishment of the improvement in reading speed following repetitive presentation of the same word list, suggesting a role of the visual cortex in repetition priming in the blind. [less ▲]

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See detailTranscranial magnetic stimulation of the visual cortex induces somatotopically organized qualia in blind subjects
Kupers, R.; Fumal, Arnaud ULg; Maertens De Noordhout, Alain ULg et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2006), 103(35), 13256-13260

After loss of a particular sensory channel, the deprived cortex can be activated by inputs from other sensory modalities. It is not known whether activation of the rewired cortex evokes subjective ... [more ▼]

After loss of a particular sensory channel, the deprived cortex can be activated by inputs from other sensory modalities. It is not known whether activation of the rewired cortex evokes subjective experiences characteristic of that cortex or consistent with the rerouted sensory information. In a previous study, blind subjects were trained to perform visual tasks with a tongue display unit, a sensory substitution device that translates visual displays into electrotactile tongue stimulation. This cross-modal sensory stimulation activated their visual cortices. We now extend this finding by using transcranial magnetic stimulation to examine the perceptual correlates of training-induced plastic responses. We find that blind subjects proficient with the use of the tongue display unit report somatopicaily organized tactile sensations that are referred to the tongue when transcranial magnetic stimulation is applied over the occipital cortex. No such sensations were evoked in trained, blindfolded, seeing control subjects who performed the sensory substitution task equally well. These data show that the perceptual correlate of activity in a given cortical area reflects the characteristics of its novel sensory input source. [less ▲]

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