Benjamin Thompson

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (72)192.98 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: To assess whether partial occlusion of the non-amblyopic eye with Bangerter filters can immediately reduce suppression and promote binocular summation of contrast in observers with amblyopia. Methods: In Experiment 1, suppression was measured for 22 observers (mean age 20 years, range 14-32 years) with strabismic or anisometropic amblyopia and 10 controls using our previously established "balance point" protocol. Measurements were made at baseline and with 0.6, 0.4 and 0.2 strength Bangerter filters placed over the non-amblyopic/dominant eye. In Experiment 2, measurements of contrast sensitivity were made under binocular and monocular viewing conditions for 25 observers with anisometropic amblyopia (mean age 17 years, range 11-28 years) and 22 controls (mean age 24 years, range 22 - 27 years). Measurements were made at baseline and with 0.4 and 0.2 strength Bangerter filters placed over the non-amblyopic/dominant eye. Binocular summation ratios (BSRs) were calculated at baseline and with Bangerter filters. Results: Experiment 1: Bangerter filters reduced suppression in observers with amblyopia and induced suppression in controls (p = 0.025). The 0.2 strength filter eliminated suppression in observers with amblyopia and this was not a visual acuity effect. Experiment 2: Bangerter filters were able to induce normal levels of binocular contrast summation in the group of observers with anisometropic amblyopia for a stimulus with a spatial frequency of 3 cycles per degree (cpd) (p = 0.006). The filters reduced binocular summation in controls. Conclusions: Bangerter filters can immediately reduce suppression and promote binocular summation for mid/low spatial frequencies in observers with amblyopia.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Occlusion therapy for amblyopia is predicated on the idea that amblyopia is primarily a disorder of monocular vision; however, there is growing evidence that patients with amblyopia have a structurally intact binocular visual system that is rendered functionally monocular due to suppression. Furthermore, we have found that a dichoptic treatment intervention designed to directly target suppression can result in clinically significant improvement in both binocular and monocular visual function in adult patients with amblyopia. The fact that monocular improvement occurs in the absence of any fellow eye occlusion suggests that amblyopia is, in part, due to chronic suppression. Previously the treatment has been administered as a psychophysical task and more recently as a video game that can be played on video goggles or an iPod device equipped with a lenticular screen. The aim of this case-series study of 14 amblyopes (six strabismics, six anisometropes and two mixed) ages 13 to 50 years was to investigate: 1. whether the portable video game treatment is suitable for at-home use and 2. whether an anaglyphic version of the iPod-based video game, which is more convenient for at-home use, has comparable effects to the lenticular version.
    Clinical and Experimental Optometry 08/2014; · 0.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been shown to enhance visual cortex plasticity in adult animals, an effect that was blocked by the benzodiazepine diazepam. The aim of this study was to assess whether SSRIs increase visual cortex plasticity in humans. Methods: In experiment 1, male participants (n = 20) with normal vision were randomized to a 3-week course of fluoxetine (20mg per day) or placebo. During the final 5 days of drug administration, participants were trained extensively on a motion discrimination task at a fixed motion direction. The amount of learning was assessed for the trained motion direction and an untrained direction with and without a single dose of the benzodiazepine triazolam (0.0625 mg). Adult patients with amblyopia (n = 7) took part in experiment 2, which employed a cross-over design whereby placebo and citalopram (20mg per day) were each combined with two weeks of occlusion therapy (2 hours per day). Visual functions, including visual acuity, were measured fortnightly on five occasions. Results: In experiment 1 there was no effect of fluoxetine on learning. However, triazolam significantly impaired performance for the untrained but not the trained motion direction (F = 3.3, p = 0.04). In experiment 2, 3 patients experienced VA improvements of over 0.1 LogMAR when treated with citalopram but not with placebo. Conclusion: SSRI administration did not affect visual cortex plasticity in normal observers. However, separate learning mechanisms were unveiled; as only the untrained task was susceptible to neuronal hyperpolarization, caused by allosteric modulation of the GABA binding site by triazolam. Citalopram may allow for visual acuity improvements in some patients with amblyopia, however longer treatment durations may be required to improve visual functions such as acuity and stereopsis in a larger number of patients.
    International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience, Brisbane; 07/2014
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT BODY: Purpose: The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine has been shown to significantly enhance visual cortex plasticity in adult animals. This effect was blocked by administration of a benzodiazepine. The aim of this study was to assess whether fluoxetine would enhance visual perceptual learning in healthy adults and whether the benzodiazepine Lorazepam would reverse this effect. Methods: 20 male participants were randomized to a 3 week course of fluoxetine (20mg per day) or placebo. Psychometric functions of performance on a motion direction discrimination task were measured for two different motion directions at baseline and at weekly intervals for 4 weeks after the first drug dose. Transcranial magnetic stimulation was also used to measure phosphene thresholds, an index of visual cortex excitability, at weekly intervals. During the final 5 days of drug administration, participants were trained extensively on the motion discrimination task at a fixed motion direction. Psychometric functions were re-measured the day after training and the following day 2 hours after a single dose of Lorazepam (0.0625 mg). A final set of measurements were made one week after training. Results: There were no significant differences between the placebo and fluoxetine groups in the amount of perceptual learning, the rate of learning or the transfer of learning to the untrained motion direction. However fluoxetine did tend to reduce phosphene thresholds. Lorazepam significantly impaired task performance for the untrained motion direction but not the trained motion direction (F = 3.3, p = 0.04). Conclusions: Fluoxetine did not enhance perceptual learning; however the fluoxetine group did show a tendency for increased visual cortex excitability. Learning due to transfer was vulnerable to Lorazepam whereas learning due to training was not. This suggests the existence of separate neural mechanisms for learning and transfer within perceptual learning paradigms.
    The Association for Research in Vision and Opthalmology, Orlando, Florida, USA; 05/2014
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    Robert F Hess, Benjamin Thompson, Daniel H Baker
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    ABSTRACT: The amblyopic visual system was once considered to be structurally monocular. However, it now evident that the capacity for binocular vision is present in many observers with amblyopia. This has led to new techniques for quantifying suppression that have provided insights into the relationship between suppression and the monocular and binocular visual deficits experienced by amblyopes. Furthermore, new treatments are emerging that directly target suppressive interactions within the visual cortex and, on the basis of initial data, appear to improve both binocular and monocular visual function, even in adults with amblyopia. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of recent studies that have investigated the structure, measurement and treatment of binocular vision in observers with strabismic, anisometropic and mixed amblyopia.
    Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 03/2014; 34(2):146-62. · 1.74 Impact Factor
  • Jinrong Li, Minbin Yu, Robert F Hess, Lily Y Chan, Benjamin S Thompson
    Ophthalmology 01/2014; · 5.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) is the sawtooth movement of the eye elicited when an observer views a repeated moving pattern. We present a method for identifying the presence and direction of OKN in recordings of the eye made using a standard off-the-shelf video-camera or webcam. Our approach uses vertical edge detection to determine the limbus/iris boundary, and we estimate the velocity of the edge using Lucas–Kanade optical flow. Heuristic rules are applied to identify saccadic velocity peaks from the resulting velocity signal. The normalized average of the resulting peaks is used to estimate the presence/direction of OKN. Our preliminary testing with six participants observing global motion stimuli with full or partial coherence yields an accuracy of 93% which compares favorably to the performance of an experienced human observer (98% accuracy). Additional tests using high contrast, square-wave gratings show that performance of the technique is consistent at stimulus speeds of 5 and 10 deg/s and that OKN is not reported by the algorithm when participants view stationary stimuli.
    Vision Research. 01/2014;
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    Lisa M Hamm, Joanna Black, Shuan Dai, Benjamin Thompson
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    ABSTRACT: Amblyopia is a neurodevelopmental disorder of the visual system that is associated with disrupted binocular vision during early childhood. There is evidence that the effects of amblyopia extend beyond the primary visual cortex to regions of the dorsal and ventral extra-striate visual cortex involved in visual integration. Here, we review the current literature on global processing deficits in observers with either strabismic, anisometropic, or deprivation amblyopia. A range of global processing tasks have been used to investigate the extent of the cortical deficit in amblyopia including: global motion perception, global form perception, face perception, and biological motion. These tasks appear to be differentially affected by amblyopia. In general, observers with unilateral amblyopia appear to show deficits for local spatial processing and global tasks that require the segregation of signal from noise. In bilateral cases, the global processing deficits are exaggerated, and appear to extend to specialized perceptual systems such as those involved in face processing.
    Frontiers in Psychology 01/2014; 5:583. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: To develop and validate a technique for measuring global motion perception in 2-year-old children and assess the relationship between global motion perception and other measures of visual function. Methods: Random-dot-kinematogram stimuli were used to measure motion coherence thresholds in 366 children at risk of neurodevelopmental problems at 24±1 months of age. RDKs of variable coherence were presented and eye movements were analysed offline to grade the direction of the optokinetic reflex (OKR) for each trial. Motion coherence thresholds were calculated by fitting psychometric functions to the resulting datasets. Test-retest reliability was assessed in 15 children and motion coherence thresholds were measured in a group of 10 adults using both OKR and behavioural responses. Standard age appropriate optometry tests were also performed. Results: Motion coherence thresholds were successfully measured in 336 (91.8%) children using the OKR technique but only 31 (8.5%) using behavioural responses. The mean threshold was 41.7±13.5% for 2-year-old children and 3.3±1.2% for adults. Within-assessor reliability and test-retest reliability were high in children. Children's motion coherence thresholds were significantly correlated with stereoacuity (LANG stereotest I and II; rho=0.29, p<0.001, Frisby; rho=0.17, p=0.022) but not with binocular visual acuity (rho=0.11, p=0.07). In adults OKR and behavioural motion coherence thresholds were highly correlated (intraclass correlation = 0.81, p=0.001). Conclusions: Global motion perception can be measured in 2-year-old children using the OKR. This technique is reliable and data from adults suggest that motion coherence thresholds based on the OKR are related to motion perception. Global motion perception was related to stereoacuity in children.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 11/2013; · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    Jiawei Zhou, Benjamin Thompson, Robert F Hess
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    ABSTRACT: Amblyopia is a neurological disorder of binocular vision affecting up to 3% of the population resulting from a disrupted period of early visual development. Recently, it has been shown that vision can be partially restored by intensive monocular or dichoptic training (4-6 weeks). This can occur even in adults owing to a residual degree of brain plasticity initiated by repetitive and successive sensory stimulation. Here we show that the binocular imbalance that characterizes amblyopia can be reduced by occluding the amblyopic eye with a translucent patch for as little as 2.5 hours, suggesting a degree of rapid binocular plasticity in adults resulting from a lack of sensory stimulation. The integrated binocular benefit is larger in our amblyopic group than in our normal control group. We propose that this rapid improvement in function, as a result of reduced sensory stimulation, represents a new form of plasticity operating at a binocular site.
    Scientific Reports 09/2013; 3:2638. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose. Evidence is accumulating that suppression may be the cause of amblyopia rather than a secondary consequence of mismatched retinal images. For example, treatment interventions that target suppression may lead to better binocular and monocular outcomes. Furthermore, it has recently been demonstrated that the measurement of suppression may have prognostic value for patching therapy. For these reasons, the measurement of suppression in the clinic needs to be improved beyond the methods that are currently available, which provide a binary outcome. Method. We describe a novel quantitative method for measuring the regional extent of suppression that is suitable for clinical use. The method involves a dichoptic perceptual matching procedure at multiple visual field locations. We compare a group of normal controls (mean age 28±5yrs), a group with strabismic amblyopia (4 with micro-esotropia, 5 with esotropia and 1 with exotropia, mean age 35±10yrs), and a group with non-strabismic anisometropic amblyopia (mean age 33yrs±12yrs). Results. The extent and magnitude of suppression was similar for observers with strabismic and non-strabimsmic amblyopia. Suppression was strongest within the central field and extended throughout the 20° field that we measured. Conclusion. Suppression extends throughout the central visual field in both strabismic and anisometropic forms of amblyopia. The strongest suppression occurs within the region of the visual field corresponding to the fovea of the fixing eye.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 09/2013; · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    Nicola S Anstice, Benjamin Thompson
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    ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, a number of large clinical trials have provided important information relating to the reliability and repeatability of commonly used paediatric tests of vision and their role in the diagnosis and management of paediatric ocular diseases. The aim of this review is to summarise recent findings on the use of paediatric visual acuity tests in clinical practice and to discuss the validity and accuracy of visual acuity measurements in infants and young children. We provide a broad overview of the benefits and challenges of measuring visual acuity in children and then discuss age-appropriate tests for measuring visual acuity in infants through to school-age children. We also discuss normative values for visual acuity in each age group and, where possible, provide comparisons of results between tests with a particular focus on the importance of optotype design.
    Clinical and Experimental Optometry 07/2013; · 0.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amblyopia is a neurodevelopmental disorder of vision caused by abnormal visual experience during early childhood that is often considered to be untreatable in adulthood. Recently, it has been shown that a novel dichoptic videogame-based treatment for amblyopia can improve visual function in adult patients, at least in part, by reducing inhibition of inputs from the amblyopic eye to the visual cortex. Non-invasive anodal transcranial direct current stimulation has been shown to reduce the activity of inhibitory cortical interneurons when applied to the primary motor or visual cortex. In this double-blind, sham-controlled cross-over study we tested the hypothesis that anodal transcranial direct current stimulation of the visual cortex would enhance the therapeutic effects of dichoptic videogame-based treatment. A homogeneous group of 16 young adults (mean age 22.1 ± 1.1 years) with amblyopia were studied to compare the effect of dichoptic treatment alone and dichoptic treatment combined with visual cortex direct current stimulation on measures of binocular (stereopsis) and monocular (visual acuity) visual function. The combined treatment led to greater improvements in stereoacuity than dichoptic treatment alone, indicating that direct current stimulation of the visual cortex boosts the efficacy of dichoptic videogame-based treatment. This intervention warrants further evaluation as a novel therapeutic approach for adults with amblyopia.
    Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 07/2013; · 5.38 Impact Factor
  • Child Vision Research Society, Waterloo, Canada; 06/2013
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: . Amblyopia is a neurodevelopmental disorder of vision that is associated with abnormal patterns of neural inhibition within the visual cortex. This disorder is often considered to be untreatable in adulthood because of insufficient visual cortex plasticity. There is increasing evidence that interventions that target inhibitory interactions within the visual cortex, including certain types of noninvasive brain stimulation, can improve visual function in adults with amblyopia. OBJECTIVE: . We tested the hypothesis that anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) would improve visual function in adults with amblyopia by enhancing the neural response to inputs from the amblyopic eye. METHODS: . Thirteen adults with amblyopia participated and contrast sensitivity in the amblyopic and fellow fixing eye was assessed before, during and after a-tDCS or cathodal tDCS (c-tDCS). Five participants also completed a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study designed to investigate the effect of a-tDCS on the blood oxygen level-dependent response within the visual cortex to inputs from the amblyopic versus the fellow fixing eye. RESULTS: . A subgroup of 8/13 participants showed a transient improvement in amblyopic eye contrast sensitivity for at least 30 minutes after a-tDCS. fMRI measurements indicated that the characteristic cortical response asymmetry in amblyopes, which favors the fellow eye, was reduced by a-tDCS. CONCLUSIONS: . These preliminary results suggest that a-tDCS deserves further investigation as a potential tool to enhance amblyopia treatment outcomes in adults.
    Neurorehabilitation and neural repair 06/2013; · 4.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose:Global motion perception is thought to be particularly susceptible to atypical development and therefore may provide a sensitive measure of neurological function in young children. The aim of this study was to assess global motion perception in a cohort of two-year old children born at risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia by utilizing the optokinetic reflex. Methods:Random-dot-kinetogram stimuli (250 dots, dot speed 8°/sec) were used to measure motion coherence thresholds in 275 children born with risk factors for neonatal hypoglycaemia including; small or large for gestational age, child of a diabetic mother and pre-term delivery (35 weeks gestation). Data were also collected from 11 adult volunteers. Motion coherence was varied using the method of constant stimuli and detection of global motion was determined by observing the optokinetic reflex (OKR), and also behavioural responses in adults. Standard age-appropriate optometry tests were also performed. Results:Motion coherence thresholds were successfully measured in 261 (95%) children, which compared favourably with success rates for standard age-appropriate clinical tests (such as Cardiff cards, LANG I&II stereo test, Frisby stereo test). As expected, motion coherence thresholds were higher for 2-year old children (mean 42.0±13%) than for adults (mean (3.2± 1%), and were in good agreement with previous studies on global motion perception infants and older children. Motion coherence thresholds were significantly correlated with stereoacuity (R=0.22, p=0.002) in children. In addition, motion coherence thresholds assessed using OKR were significantly correlated with behavioural thresholds in adults (R = 0.67, p = 0.047), suggesting that OKR is indicative of perceived global motion. Conclusions:Motion coherence thresholds measured using OKR eye movements reflect behavioural responses in adults. This method can be applied to two-year old children born at risk of abnormal neurodevelopment.
    ARVO 2013, Seattle, USA; 06/2013
  • Simon Clavagnier, Benjamin Thompson, Robert F Hess
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: It has been reported that a single session of 1 Hz or 10 Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the visual cortex can temporarily improve contrast sensitivity in adults with amblyopia. More recently, continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) of the visual cortex has been found to improve contrast sensitivity in observers with normal vision. OBJECTIVE/HYPOTHESIS: The aims of this study were to assess whether cTBS of the visual cortex could improve contrast sensitivity in adults with amblyopia and whether repeated sessions of cTBS would lead to more pronounced and/or longer lasting effects. METHODS: cTBS was delivered to the visual cortex while patients viewed a high contrast stimulus with their non-amblyopic eye. This manipulation was designed to bias the effects of cTBS toward inputs from the amblyopic eye. Contrast sensitivity was measured before and after stimulation. The effects of one cTBS session were measured in five patients and the effects of five consecutive daily sessions were measured in four patients. Three patients were available for follow-up at varying intervals after the final session. RESULTS: cTBS improved amblyopic eye contrast sensitivity to high spatial frequencies (P < 0.05) and there was a cumulative improvement across sessions with asymptotic improvement occurring after 2 daily sessions of stimulation. The contrast sensitivity improvements were stable over a period of up to 78 days. CONCLUSIONS: These initial results in a small number of patients indicate the cTBS may allow for enduring visual function improvements in adults with amblyopia.
    Brain Stimulation 04/2013; · 4.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to assess (1) the relationship between interocular suppression and visual function in patients with anisometropic amblyopia, (2) whether suppression can be simulated in matched controls using monocular defocus or neutral density filters, (3) the effects of spectacle or rigid gas-permeable contact lens correction on suppression in patients with anisometropic amblyopia, and (4) the relationship between interocular suppression and outcomes of occlusion therapy. DESIGN: Case-control study (aims 1-3) and cohort study (aim 4). PARTICIPANTS: Forty-five participants with anisometropic amblyopia and 45 matched controls (mean age, 8.8 years for both groups). METHODS: Interocular suppression was assessed using Bagolini striated lenses, neutral density filters, and an objective psychophysical technique that measures the amount of contrast imbalance between the 2 eyes that is required to overcome suppression (dichoptic motion coherence thresholds). Visual acuity was assessed using a logarithm minimum angle of resolution tumbling E chart and stereopsis using the Randot preschool test. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Interocular suppression assessed using dichoptic motion coherence thresholds. RESULTS: Patients exhibited significantly stronger suppression than controls, and stronger suppression was correlated significantly with poorer visual acuity in amblyopic eyes. Reducing monocular acuity in controls to match that of cases using neutral density filters (luminance reduction) resulted in levels of interocular suppression comparable with that in patients. This was not the case for monocular defocus (optical blur). Rigid gas-permeable contact lens correction resulted in less suppression than spectacle correction, and stronger suppression was associated with poorer outcomes after occlusion therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Interocular suppression plays a key role in the visual deficits associated with anisometropic amblyopia and can be simulated in controls by inducing a luminance difference between the eyes. Accurate quantification of suppression using the dichoptic motion coherence threshold technique may provide useful information for the management and treatment of anisometropic amblyopia. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found after the references.
    Ophthalmology 04/2013; · 5.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adults with amblyopia, a common visual cortex disorder caused primarily by binocular disruption during an early critical period, do not respond to conventional therapy involving occlusion of one eye [1]. But it is now clear that the adult human visual cortex has a significant degree of plasticity [2], suggesting that something must be actively preventing the adult brain from learning to see through the amblyopic eye. One possibility is an inhibitory signal from the contralateral eye that suppresses cortical inputs from the amblyopic eye [3,4]. Such a gating mechanism could explain the apparent lack of plasticity within the adult amblyopic visual cortex [5,6]. Here we provide direct evidence that alleviating suppression of the amblyopic eye through dichoptic stimulus presentation induces greater levels of plasticity than forced use of the amblyopic eye alone. This indicates that suppression is a key gating mechanism that prevents the amblyopic brain from learning to see.
    Current biology: CB 04/2013; 23(8):R308-9. · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the effects of visual cortex transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on visual processing and learning. Participants performed a contrast detection task on two consecutive days. Each session consisted of a baseline measurement followed by measurements made during active or sham stimulation. On the first day, one group received anodal stimulation to primary visual cortex (V1), while another received cathodal stimulation. Stimulation polarity was reversed for these groups on the second day. The third (control) group of subjects received sham stimulation on both days. No improvements or decrements in contrast sensitivity relative to the same-day baseline were observed during real tDCS, nor was any within-session learning trend observed. However, task performance improved significantly from Day 1 to Day 2 for the participants who received cathodal tDCS on Day 1 and for the sham group. No such improvement was found for the participants who received anodal stimulation on Day 1, indicating that anodal tDCS blocked overnight consolidation of visual learning, perhaps through engagement of inhibitory homeostatic plasticity mechanisms or alteration of the signal-to-noise ratio within stimulated cortex. These results show that applying tDCS to the visual cortex can modify consolidation of visual learning.
    Neuropsychologia 04/2013; · 3.48 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

617 Citations
192.98 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2014
    • University of Waterloo
      • School of Optometry & Vision Science
      Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
      Boston, MA, United States
    • The University of Tokyo
      • College of Art and Science & Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
      Tokyo, Tokyo-to, Japan
  • 2009–2014
    • University of Auckland
      • Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences
      Окленд, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2010–2013
    • Sun Yat-Sen University
      • State Key Laboratory of Oncology
      Guangzhou, Guangdong Sheng, China
  • 2007–2012
    • McGill University
      • Division of Ophthalmology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2008
    • Colgate University
      • Department of Psychology
      Hamilton, NY, United States
  • 2006
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Psychology
      Los Angeles, CA, United States