Amblyopia; Training; Neuroplasticity; Stereopsis; Neuroimaging
Jastrzębowska Maya A., Chicherov Vitaly, Draganski Bogdan, Herzog Michael H. (2021), Unraveling brain interactions in vision: The example of crowding, in NeuroImage
, 240, 118390-118390.
Matuszewski Jacek, Kossowski Bartosz, Bola Łukasz, Banaszkiewicz Anna, Paplińska Małgorzata, Gyger Lucien, Kherif Ferath, Szwed Marcin, Frackowiak Richard S., Jednoróg Katarzyna, Draganski Bogdan, Marchewka Artur (2021), Brain plasticity dynamics during tactile Braille learning in sighted subjects: Multi-contrast MRI approach, in NeuroImage
, 227, 117613-117613.
Amblyopia affects 3% of the general population and has significant impact not only on visual acuity and stereoscopic function, but also on broader aspects of brain function - navigating complex terrain or playing ball games and sports, to name a few. Recent developments in the treatment of amblyopia suggest that by targeting deficient binocular summation and suppression mechanisms, amblyopic eye function can be improved past the critical period of development into adolescence and adulthood. A number of striate and extra-striate visual regions have been reported as dysfunctional in amblyopes and some of these regions are also known to underlie binocular visual function in healthy individuals.The project builds on our promising preliminary results on the effects of dichoptic training on amblyopia and on brain plasticity in the mature human brain. We intend to train amblyopic subjects and matched controls on a dichoptic visual task while tracking functional and microstructural brain changes with clinical, behavioural and longitudinal neuroimaging data. In this way we endeavour to monitor the neuroplastic changes underlying functional recovery in amblyopia, shedding light onto the propensity for plastic reorganization in the mature human brain. Main aim of the project is to investigate the potential of non-invasive visual training to restore stereoscopic vision in patients with amblyopia. The secondary goals are to establish a comprehensive approach for understanding the neurobiology of training-induced neuroplasticity based on quantification of specific tissue properties - myelin, iron and water content additional to investigation of associated neural activity changes. Relaxometry-based, diffusion-weighted and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are applied to assess the anatomical and functional changes associated with plasticity within specific networks. Finally, we integrate multi-modal imaging and behavioural data into a comprehensive generative model of brain plasticity to infer causality between visual function remodelling, and changes in brain structure and function.The project represents a truly synergistic interaction between unique clinical expertise in ophthalmology and imaging neuroscience. Given the high prevalence of amblyopia and its impact on individual’s health and well-being, any advance in our knowledge about patient selection, treatment monitoring and effects on the brain will have immediate positive impact on society and research.