The human brain exhibits rhythms that are characteristic for anatomical areas and presumably involved in diverse perceptual and cognitive processes. Visual deprivation results in behavioral adaptation and cortical reorganization, particularly affecting sensory cortices. In this project, we investigated whether these plasticity-related changes are also reflected in altered brain rhythms and whether certain brain areas are particularly targeted by these changes. More specifically, we were interested in whether beyond known differences in the visual cortex profile, other brain areas such as for example those involved in speech processing show alterations. To answer these questions, we collected resting state magnetoencephalography data from normally-sighted and congenitally blind individuals and analyzed the spectral properties (i.e. brain rhythms) of 115 different brain regions.
We observed in our data that the properties of the brain rhythms were altered in several brain regions in the visual, auditory and right frontal cortices in the group of congenitally blind individuals. Various other brain areas, however, were characterized by similar spectral profiles in both groups. These findings suggest that visual deprivation alters spectral properties particularly of certain brain areas, which have been previously suggested to show functional and structural reorganization.