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Neuronal Substrates of Blindsight in Hemispherectomized Subjects. Edition No. 1
VDM Publishing House, July 2008, Pages: 148
Damage to the occipital cortex has traditionally been thought to lead to permanent blindness in the contralateral visual field. The
existence of residual visual functions in the blind field has, however, been observed and described in cortically blind humans and
animals. This visual phenomenon, whereby patients are able to process visual information in their blind visual field without a
conscious perception of the stimuli, was first coined blindsight. The neuronal correlate of this phenomenon, however, remains
elusive. Advances in neuroimaging techniques such as Diffusion Tensor Imaging, careful application of paradigms, and strict
control of methodological artifacts have enabled me to confirm the existence of blindsight in hemispherectomized subjects and
the involvement of the superior colliculi in this phenomenon. My studies demonstrate that superior colliculi connections to the
remaining cortical areas play a pivotal role in unconscious vision. In addition, I was able to show that Diffusion Tensor Imaging is
a promising, innovative technique to investigate cortical and subcortical connectivity as well as cortical plasticity.
Dr. Sandra E.
My previous neuroophthalmological and neuropsychological experiences (U. Hamburg) directed me towards research in neuroscience at the Montreal Neurological Institute/McGill where I completed my doctoral studies in 2008. I am particularly interested in blindsight and am fortunate to investigate a fascinating and rare patient population (hemispherectomized subjects) by using innovative imaging techniques.