Original Paper

Brain Topography

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 293-307

First online:

A Functional Neuroimaging Case Study of Meares–Irlen Syndrome/Visual Stress (MISViS)

  • Brea D. ChouinardAffiliated withFaculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta Email author 
  • , Crystal I. ZhouAffiliated withFaculty of Medicine, University of Alberta
  • , Stanislau HrybouskiAffiliated withCentre for Neuroscience, University of Alberta
  • , Esther S. KimAffiliated withFaculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta
  • , Jacqueline CummineAffiliated withFaculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of AlbertaCentre for Neuroscience, University of Alberta

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The aim of this study is to evaluate the data from a participant in a reading study who had a diagnosis of Meares–Irlen syndrome/visual stress (MISViS). MISViS is characterised by visual distortions and somatic issues, which are remediated using coloured filters. The authors present a case study providing descriptive neurobiological comparisons of MISViS versus a control group. The study involved eleven English language speakers who participated in behavioural and neuroimaging versions of a language experiment with varied proportions of regular and exception words. Behavioural measures included accuracy and response times. Neuroimaging was conducted using a 1.5T Siemens Sonata MRI. The MISViS participant’s data were removed from the overall experiment and analysed as a case study. Impulse response functions (IRFs) and percentage of active voxels were extracted from four regions of interest: BAs 17, 18, 19, and the postcentral gyrus (PG) and two control regions (BA6 and left BA45). The results indicated that significant differences existed between the control group and the MISViS participant for IRF intensity in two regions (BA6 and PG) and percentage of active voxels in four regions (BA17, BA19, PG, and BA6). No significant differences occurred in left BA45 for either variable of interest. No significant differences were found for behavioural measures. In conclusion, our findings offer one of the first neurobiological descriptions of differences in IRF intensity and percentage of active voxels in visual and somatosensory cortex during a language experiment for a participant with MISViS in the absence of migraine compared to controls.


Meares–Irlen syndrome Visual stress Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) Coloured filters Visual perceptual distortions