Correlated size variations in human visual cortex, lateral geniculate nucleus, and optic tract.
We have examined several components of the human visual system to determine how the dimensions of the optic tract, lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), and primary visual cortex (V1) vary within the same brain. Measurements were made of the cross-sectional area of the optic tract, the volumes of the magnocellular and parvocellular layers of the LGN, and the surface area and volume of V1 in one or both cerebral hemispheres of 15 neurologically normal human brains obtained at autopsy. Consistent with previous observations, there was a two- to threefold variation in the size of each of these visual components among the individuals studied. Importantly, this variation was coordinated within the visual system of any one individual. That is, a relatively large V1 was associated with a commensurately large LGN and optic tract, whereas a relatively small V1 was associated with a commensurately smaller LGN and optic tract. This relationship among the components of the human visual system indicates that the development of its different parts is interdependent. Such coordinated variation should generate substantial differences in visual ability among humans.
Andrews, TJ; Halpern, SD; Purves, D
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