Nita Valikodath, a fourth year U-M medical student, traveled to Paris, France for a four-week elective rotation in April 2017 at the Institut de la Vision. She worked in the laboratory of Angelo Arleo, MD on perceptual and cognitive changes of the normal aging process. She participated in visuospatial navigation experiments in virtual reality settings, central and peripheral vision tests with electroencephalographic monitoring, eye tracking experiments, color filter experiments, and functional MRI imaging as subjects undertook cognitive tasks.
She also joined in a project involving voxel-based morphometry in normal aging. It confirmed that white matter and gray matter atrophy and enlargement of the cerebrospinal fluid spaces occur as a part of normal aging, but hippocampal volume remains constant.
As a supplement to her laboratory work, Nita attended seminars conducted by post-doctoral students presenting their research findings. On the last day, she even presented her Kellogg research, involving patient attitudes towards telemedicine for diabetic retinopathy screening.
During her last week in Paris, she attended the neuro-ophthalmology clinic of Maud Lebas, MD at the Fondation Ophtalmologique Adolphe de Rothschild, one of the most famous ophthalmic hospitals of Europe. Dr. Lebas had been a neuro-ophthalmology fellow at Kellogg many years earlier.
Catherine Vignal-Clermont, MD, chief of ophthalmology at Rothschild, invited Nita into the operating rooms to observe cataract, retinal, and oculoplastic surgery. She also attended lectures and discussions on how to approach upcoming difficult surgical cases.
Nita is especially grateful to Katia Marazova, MD at the Institut de la Vision, who made the arrangements for this fruitful experience.