From motor cortex to visual cortex: The application of noninvasive brain stimulation to amblyopia

Authors

  • Benjamin Thompson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
    2. McGill Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    • Department of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
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  • Behzad Mansouri,

    1. McGill Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Section of Neurology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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  • Lisa Koski,

    1. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Laboratory, MUHC Research Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Robert F. Hess

    1. McGill Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Abstract

Noninvasive brain stimulation is a technique for inducing changes in the excitability of discrete neural populations in the human brain. A current model of the underlying pathological processes contributing to the loss of motor function after stroke has motivated a number of research groups to investigate the potential therapeutic application of brain stimulation to stroke rehabilitation. The loss of motor function is modeled as resulting from a combination of reduced excitability in the lesioned motor cortex and an increased inhibitory drive from the nonlesioned hemisphere over the lesioned hemisphere. This combination of impaired neural function and pathological suppression resonates with current views on the cause of the visual impairment in amblyopia. Here, we discuss how the rationale for using noninvasive brain stimulation in stroke rehabilitation can be applied to amblyopia, review a proof-of-principle study demonstrating that brain stimulation can temporarily improve amblyopic eye function, and propose future research avenues. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 54:263-273, 2012.

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