4 years ago

Visually stressful striped patterns alter human visual cortical functional connectivity

Jie Huang, David C. Zhu
Visually stressful striped patterns with a spatial frequency (SF) of around 3 cycles per degree (cpd) can induce perceptual illusions/distortions and visual discomfort in most people, headaches in patients with migraine, and seizures in patients with photosensitive epilepsy. Patterns with SF ∼0.3 cpd have no such effects and are not uncomfortable to look at (non-stressful). The effects of the striped patterns on visual cortical activation have been investigated, but their effects on the visual cortical network remain to be studied. A prolonged visual stimulation with stressful patterns may alter the functional connections within the visual system, and their relationship with other networks. Using resting-state fMRI, this study revealed that the functional connections within the visual system were significantly enhanced by visually stressful stimulation. The functional connectivity between V1 and other brain regions was also significantly modified. Non-stressful stimulation produced no such significant effects. More importantly, the effects outlasted the stimulation, and this applied both to those effects within and those beyond the visual cortex, suggesting that repeated prolonged visual stimulation with stressful patterns may alter functional connections of the brain and this might be utilized as a visual neuromodulation approach for treatments of visually triggered headaches in migraine patients and visually induced seizures in patients with photosensitive epilepsy. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23740

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