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Samantha I. Cunningham, Yonggang Shi, James D. Weiland, Paulo Falabella, Lisa C. Olmos de Koo, David N. Zacks, Bosco S. Tjan; Feasibility of Structural and Functional MRI Acquisition with Unpowered Implants in Argus II Retinal Prosthesis Patients: A Case Study. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2015;4(6):6. doi: 10.1167/tvst.4.6.6.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can measure the effects of vision loss and recovery on brain function and structure. In this case study, we sought to determine the feasibility of acquiring anatomical and functional MRI data in recipients of the Argus II epiretinal prosthesis system.
Following successful implantation with the Argus II device, two retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients completed MRI scans with their implant unpowered to measure primary visual cortex (V1) functional responses to a tactile task, whole-brain morphometry, V1 cortical thickness, and diffusion properties of the optic tract and optic radiation. Measurements in the subjects with the Argus II implant were compared to measurements obtained previously from RP patients and sighted individuals.
The presence of the Argus II implant resulted in artifacts that were localized around the patient's implanted eye and did not extend into cortical regions or white matter tracts associated with the visual system. Structural data on V1 cortical thickness and the retinofugal tract obtained from the two Argus II subjects fell within the ranges of sighted and RP groups. When compared to the RP and sighted subjects, Argus II patients' tactile-evoked cross-modal functional MRI (fMRI) blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) responses in V1 also fell within the range of either sighted or RP groups, apparently depending on time since implantation.
This study demonstrates that successful acquisition and quantification of structural and functional MR images are feasible in the presence of the inactive implant and provides preliminary information on functional changes in the brain that may follow sight restoration treatments.
Successful MRI and fMRI acquisition in Argus II recipients demonstrates feasibility of using MRI to study the effect of retinal prosthesis use on brain structure and function.
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