Data-Driven Classification of Spectral Profiles Reveals Brain Region-Specific Plasticity in Blindness

Christina Lubinus, Joan Orpella, Anne Keitel, Helene Gudi-Mindermann, Andreas K. Engel, Brigitte Roeder, Johanna M. Rimmele (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


Congenital blindness has been shown to result in behavioral adaptation and neuronal reorganization, but the underlying neuronal mechanisms are largely unknown. Brain rhythms are characteristic for anatomically defined brain regions and provide a putative mechanistic link to cognitive processes. In a novel approach, using magnetoencephalography resting state data of congenitally blind and sighted humans, deprivation-related changes in spectral profiles were mapped to the cortex using clustering and classification procedures. Altered spectral profiles in visual areas suggest changes in visual alpha-gamma band inhibitory-excitatory circuits. Remarkably, spectral profiles were also altered in auditory and right frontal areas showing increased power in theta-to-beta frequency bands in blind compared with sighted individuals, possibly related to adaptive auditory and higher cognitive processing. Moreover, occipital alpha correlated with microstructural white matter properties extending bilaterally across posterior parts of the brain. We provide evidence that visual deprivation selectively modulates spectral profiles, possibly reflecting structural and functional adaptation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2505-2522
Number of pages18
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number5
Early online date19 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • MEG
  • congenital blindness
  • oscillations
  • spectral fingerprints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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