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Optic Nerve Imaging

  1. Nov 7, 2015 #1
    Are there any studies or resources related to imaging of the optic nerve when participants are exposed to specific images or colors? I can't seem to find anything relating to this topic, but I think it would be interesting.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2015 #2
    You might try looking for a visual evoked potential test, the test is done to detect issues in the conduction of signal through the optic nerve (can be used to diagnose MS) and consist of administering an EEG to the patient while showing them an image (usually a checkerboard). It therefore isn't quite the imaging you probably mean (as in doing the test while a person is in a CT or MRI scanner) but it's probably the closest thing so far as a commonplace test goes.

    Diagram of a VEP test set-up:
    http://tidsskriftet.no/image/2013/T-12-1176-03-ENG-Over.jpg [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  4. Nov 12, 2015 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    What do you mean by 'imaging the optic nerve"? I could understand electrical recordings, but not imaging.
  5. Nov 14, 2015 #4
    I suppose some sort of test that shows the signal transmitted through the optic nerve.
  6. Nov 15, 2015 #5
    Then the VEP would be what you're looking for, tests that usually are referred to as imaging, such as CT or MRI wouldn't be able to show you the signal being transmitted. As CT and MRI would only visualize the structure of the optic nerve and not the signal travelling along the optic nerve. It might be best to think of a CT and MRI like taking an x-ray of a TV, you'll be able to see all the bits and pieces that make up the tv but the X-ray won't be able to show you the image the tv was displaying at the time.

    A PET-MRI, which is basically an MRI with color added to show activity, might be able to show the activity along the neuron (like showing which bits of the tv are ative), however a PET-MRI likely wouldn't be fast enough to capture a single signal and might not have the resolution needed to image a single nerve, even one as relatively big as the optic nerve. Especially given the location of the optic nerve, which is lying for the most part directly below the frontal lobe.

    The pulses moving along neuron's are generally best captured by EEG. Which is what a VEP does (the bottom right figure is the read out of the EEG and the dips and spikes in it would be the signal traveling through the optic nerve to the brain.
  7. Nov 15, 2015 #6
    Thank you, I didn't know that regular MRI's couldn't be used to pick up the signal. I'll read more about visual evoked potential tests, since they're exactly what I'm looking for.
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