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Experience-dependent reorganisation of functional maps in the cerebral cortex is well described in the primary sensory cortices. However, there is relatively little evidence for such cortical reorganisation over the short-term. Using human somatosensory cortex as a model, we investigated the effects of a 24 hr gluing manipulation in which the right index and right middle fingers (digits 2 and 3) were adjoined with surgical glue. Somatotopic representations, assessed with two 7 tesla fMRI protocols, revealed rapid off-target reorganisation in the non-manipulated fingers following gluing, with the representation of the ring finger (digit 4) shifted towards the little finger (digit 5) and away from the middle finger (digit 3). These shifts were also evident in two behavioural tasks conducted in an independent cohort, showing reduced sensitivity for discriminating the temporal order of stimuli to the ring and little fingers, and increased substitution errors across this pair on a speeded reaction time task.

Original publication

DOI

10.7554/eLife.17280

Type

Journal article

Journal

Elife

Publication Date

30/12/2016

Volume

5

Keywords

human, neuroscience, plasticity, somatosensory, topography, Adult, Brain Mapping, Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory, Female, Fingers, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Physical Stimulation, Reaction Time, Somatosensory Cortex, Touch Perception