Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a rare condition characterized by visual impairment associated with complex visual hallucinations in elderly people. Although studies suggested that visual hallucinations may be caused by brain damage in the visual system in CBS patients, alterations in specific brain regions in the occipital cortex have not been studied. Functional connectivity during resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI; without hallucinations) in CBS patients, has never been explored. We aimed to investigate brain structural and functional changes in a patient with CBS, as compared with late blind (LB) and normally sighted subjects. We employed voxel-based morphometry and cortical thickness analyses to investigate alterations in grey matter characteristics, and rs-fMRI to study changes in functional brain connectivity. Decreased grey matter volume was observed in the middle occipital gyrus and in the cuneus in the CBS patient, and in the middle occipital gyrus and in the lingual gyrus within LB subjects, compared to their respective control groups. Reductions in cortical thickness in associative and multimodal cortices were observed in the CBS patient when comparing with LB subjects. The precuneus exhibited increased functional connectivity with the secondary visual cortex in the CBS patient compared to the controls. In contrast, LB patients showed decreased functional connectivity compared to sighted controls between the DMN and the temporo-occipi-tal fusiform gyrus, a region known to support hallucinations. Our findings suggest a reorganization of the functional connectivity between regions involved in self-awareness and in visual and salience processing in CBS that may contribute to the appearance of visual hallucinations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)