179 research outputs found

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    Compromised Integrity of Central Visual Pathways in Patients With Macular Degeneration

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    PURPOSE. Macular degeneration (MD) affects the central retina and leads to gradual loss of foveal vision. Although, photoreceptors are primarily affected in MD, the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and central visual pathways may also be altered subsequent to photoreceptor degeneration. Here we investigate whether retinal damage caused by MD alters microstructural properties of visual pathways using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. METHODS. Six MD patients and six healthy control subjects participated in the study. Retinal images were obtained by spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Diffusion tensor images (DTI) and high-resolution T1-weighted structural images were collected for each subject. We used diffusion-based tensor modeling and probabilistic fiber tractography to identify the optic tract (OT) and optic radiations (OR), as well as nonvisual pathways (corticospinal tract and anterior fibers of corpus callosum). Fractional anisotropy (FA) and axial and radial diffusivity values (AD, RD) were calculated along the nonvisual and visual pathways. RESULTS. Measurement of RNFL thickness reveals that the temporal circumpapillary retinal nerve fiber layer was significantly thinner in eyes with macular degeneration than normal. While we did not find significant differences in diffusion properties in nonvisual pathways, patients showed significant changes in diffusion scalars (FA, RD, and AD) both in OT and OR. CONCLUSIONS. The results indicate that the RNFL and the white matter of the visual pathways are significantly altered in MD patients. Damage to the photoreceptors in MD leads to atrophy of the ganglion cell axons and to corresponding changes in microstructural properties of central visual pathways

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    Cortical Thickness Related to Compensatory Viewing Strategies in Patients With Macular Degeneration

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    Retinal diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or hereditary juvenile macular dystrophies (JMD) lead to a loss of central vision. Many patients compensate for this loss with a pseudo fovea in the intact peripheral retina, the so-called “preferred retinal locus” (PRL). How extensive eccentric viewing associated with central vision loss (CVL) affects brain structures responsible for visual perception and visually guided eye movements remains unknown. CVL results in a reduction of cortical gray matter in the “lesion projection zone” (LPZ) in early visual cortex, but the thickness of primary visual cortex appears to be largely preserved for eccentric-field representations. Here we explore how eccentric viewing strategies are related to cortical thickness (CT) measures in early visual cortex and in brain areas involved in the control of eye movements (frontal eye fields, FEF, supplementary eye fields, SEF, and premotor eye fields, PEF). We determined the projection zones (regions of interest, ROIs) of the PRL and of an equally peripheral area in the opposite hemifield (OppPRL) in early visual cortex (V1 and V2) in 32 patients with MD and 32 age-matched controls (19–84 years) by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Subsequently, we calculated the CT in these ROIs and compared it between PRL and OppPRL as well as between groups. Additionally, we examined the CT of FEF, SEF, and PEF and correlated it with behavioral measures like reading speed and eccentric fixation stability at the PRL. We found a significant difference between PRL and OppPRL projection zones in V1 with increased CT at the PRL, that was more pronounced in the patients, but also visible in the controls. Although the mean CT of the eye fields did not differ significantly between patients and controls, we found a trend to a positive correlation between CT in the right FEF and SEF and fixation stability in the whole patient group and between CT in the right PEF and reading speed in the JMD subgroup. The results indicate a possible association between the compensatory strategies used by patients with CVL and structural brain properties in early visual cortex and cortical eye fields

    The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment: Exploring Fundamental Symmetries of the Universe

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    The preponderance of matter over antimatter in the early Universe, the dynamics of the supernova bursts that produced the heavy elements necessary for life and whether protons eventually decay --- these mysteries at the forefront of particle physics and astrophysics are key to understanding the early evolution of our Universe, its current state and its eventual fate. The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) represents an extensively developed plan for a world-class experiment dedicated to addressing these questions. LBNE is conceived around three central components: (1) a new, high-intensity neutrino source generated from a megawatt-class proton accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, (2) a near neutrino detector just downstream of the source, and (3) a massive liquid argon time-projection chamber deployed as a far detector deep underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. This facility, located at the site of the former Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, is approximately 1,300 km from the neutrino source at Fermilab -- a distance (baseline) that delivers optimal sensitivity to neutrino charge-parity symmetry violation and mass ordering effects. This ambitious yet cost-effective design incorporates scalability and flexibility and can accommodate a variety of upgrades and contributions. With its exceptional combination of experimental configuration, technical capabilities, and potential for transformative discoveries, LBNE promises to be a vital facility for the field of particle physics worldwide, providing physicists from around the globe with opportunities to collaborate in a twenty to thirty year program of exciting science. In this document we provide a comprehensive overview of LBNE's scientific objectives, its place in the landscape of neutrino physics worldwide, the technologies it will incorporate and the capabilities it will possess.Comment: Major update of previous version. This is the reference document for LBNE science program and current status. Chapters 1, 3, and 9 provide a comprehensive overview of LBNE's scientific objectives, its place in the landscape of neutrino physics worldwide, the technologies it will incorporate and the capabilities it will possess. 288 pages, 116 figure

    Perceived Object Stability Depends on Multisensory Estimates of Gravity

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    BACKGROUND: How does the brain estimate object stability? Objects fall over when the gravity-projected centre-of-mass lies outside the point or area of support. To estimate an object's stability visually, the brain must integrate information across the shape and compare its orientation to gravity. When observers lie on their sides, gravity is perceived as tilted toward body orientation, consistent with a representation of gravity derived from multisensory information. We exploited this to test whether vestibular and kinesthetic information affect this visual task or whether the brain estimates object stability solely from visual information. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In three body orientations, participants viewed images of objects close to a table edge. We measured the critical angle at which each object appeared equally likely to fall over or right itself. Perceived gravity was measured using the subjective visual vertical. The results show that the perceived critical angle was significantly biased in the same direction as the subjective visual vertical (i.e., towards the multisensory estimate of gravity). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results rule out a general explanation that the brain depends solely on visual heuristics and assumptions about object stability. Instead, they suggest that multisensory estimates of gravity govern the perceived stability of objects, resulting in objects appearing more stable than they are when the head is tilted in the same direction in which they fall

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    Complications of gastric surgery

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    Gastric Bypass for the Control of Morbid Obesity

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