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"Perceptually relevant remapping of human somatotopy in 24 hours" - Kolasinski et al. 2016

We are pleased to announce the publication of a recent paper by Dr. James Kolasinski, investigating the ability of the human somatotopic cortex to be rapidly remapped over a short period of time (24 hours).

James has been on a Junior Research Fellowship connected to the Plasticity Group having done his DPhil at FMRIB, co-supervised by Heidi Johansen-Berg and Charlie Stagg.  He has now taken up a Henry Wellcome Fellowship at CUBRIC.

This paper, "Perceptually relevant remapping of human somatotopy in 24 hours" is published in the journal eLife and can be found online here.  Congratulations to James and his fellow authors: Tamar Makin, John Logan, Saad JbabdiStuart ClareCharlotte Stagg and Heidi Johansen-Berg


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-hour gluing manipulation in which the right index and right middle fingers (digits 2 & 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.