Abnormal white matter tractography of visual pathways detected by high-angular-resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) corresponds to visual dysfunction in cortical/cerebral visual impairment

Date Published:

2014 Aug

Abstract:

Cortical (cerebral) visual impairment (CVI) is characterized by visual dysfunction associated with damage to the optic radiations and/or visual cortex. Typically it results from pre- or perinatal hypoxic damage to postchiasmal visual structures and pathways. The neuroanatomical basis of this condition remains poorly understood, particularly with regard to how the resulting maldevelopment of visual processing pathways relates to observations in the clinical setting. We report our investigation of 2 young adults diagnosed with CVI and visual dysfunction characterized by difficulties related to visually guided attention and visuospatial processing. Using high-angular-resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI), we characterized and compared their individual white matter projections of the extrageniculo-striate visual system with a normal-sighted control. Compared to a sighted control, both CVI cases revealed a striking reduction in association fibers, including the inferior frontal-occipital fasciculus as well as superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi. This reduction in fibers associated with the major pathways implicated in visual processing may provide a neuroanatomical basis for the visual dysfunctions observed in these patients.
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