Video_1_Rapid Recovery From Cortical Blindness Caused by an Old Cerebral Infarction.MP4
When the primary visual cortex (V1) is damaged, cortical blindness results. However, visual information obtained from the superior colliculus (SC) or direct thalamic afferents to higher visual cortices produces unconscious visual functions called blindsight. Alarming visual stimuli suggesting the approach of a predator are known to trigger escape behaviors via visual information mediated by the SC and amygdala in small animals, and salient and dynamic visual stimuli also produce some conscious visual experience even in patients with blindsight. Fresh cortical blindness sometimes recovers spontaneously in patients with fresh cerebral damages, and recovery can be accelerated by early rehabilitation. However, the mechanisms underlying recovery are not well-known. We analyzed a patient with cortical blindness caused by an old cerebral infarction. After repeated presentation of alarming visual stimuli, the ability to detect visual stimuli in the impaired visual field showed behavioral short-term improvement (STI) within a few minutes. Repeated behavioral STI induction was followed by behavioral long-term improvement (LTI) lasting more than several days. After behavioral LTI, the patient partially recovered the ability to read letters presented in the impaired visual field. The behavioral STI experiment, which can be performed within 10 min, may serve as a clinical screening test for anticipating recovery from cortical blindness.