Friday, September 18, 2009

What if you were born with only one cerebral hemisphere?

Wolf Singer and collaborators have examined a woman whose right cerebral hemisphere did not develop after birth. Normally this hemisphere would receive information about the left visual field. From their abstract:
Despite the complete loss of her right hemisphere (di- and telencephalon) at birth, the patient's remaining hemisphere has not only developed maps of the contralateral (right) visual hemifield but, surprisingly, also maps of the ipsilateral (left) visual hemifield. Retinal ganglion-cells changed their predetermined crossing pattern in the optic chiasm and grew to the ipsilateral LGN. In the visual cortex, islands of ipsilateral visual field representations were located along the representations of the vertical meridian. In V1, smooth and continuous maps from contra- and ipsilateral hemifield overlap each other, whereas in ventral V2 and V3 ipsilateral quarter field representations invaded small distinct cortical patches. This reveals a surprising flexibility of the self-organizing developmental mechanisms responsible for map formation.

1 comment:

  1. An unsettling datapoint, perhaps? Are we heading back to the lump of goo brain theory? :)