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Claudia in CB 2011

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New Research in Current Biology
Congratulations to Claudia, who's latest paper just got accepted for publication in Current Biology.

Brief periods of monocular deprivation disrupt ocular balance in human adult visual cortex
Claudia Lunghi, David C. Burr and Concetta Morrone

Neuroplasticity is a fundamental property of the developing mammalian visual system, with residual potential in adult human cortex. A short period of abnormal visual experience (such as occlusion of one eye) before closure of the critical period has dramatic and permanent neural consequences, reshaping visual cortical organization in favour of the non-deprived eye. We used binocular rivalry — a sensitive probe of neural competition — to demonstrate that adult human visual cortex retains a surprisingly high degree of neural plasticity, with important perceptual consequences. We report that 150 minutes of monocular deprivation strongly affects the dynamics of binocular rivalry, unexpectedly causing the deprived eye to prevail in conscious perception twice as much as the non-deprived eye, with significant effects for up to 90 minutes. Apparent contrast of stimuli presented to the deprived eye was also increased, suggesting that the deprivation acts by up-regulation of cortical gain-control mechanisms of the deprived eye. The results suggest that adult visual cortex retains a good deal of plasticity that could be important.

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