In pursuing our work on the organization of human visual cortex, we wanted to specify more accurately the position of the visual motion area (area V5) in relation to the sulcal and gyral pattern of the cerebral cortex. We also wanted to determine the intersubject variation of area V5 in terms of position and extent of blood flow change in it, in response to the same task. We therefore used positron emission tomography (PET) to determine the foci of relative cerebral blood flow increases produced when subjects viewed a moving checkerboard pattern, compared to viewing the same pattern when it was stationary. We coregistered the PET images from each subject with images of the same brain obtained by magnetic resonance imaging, thus relating the position of V5 in all 24 hemispheres examined to the individual gyral configuration of the same brains. This approach also enabled us to examine the extent to which results obtained by pooling the PET data from a small group of individuals (e.g., six), chosen at random, would be representative of a much larger sample in determining the mean location of V5 after transformation into Talairach coordinates.
After stereotaxic transformation of each individual brain, we found that the position of area V5 can vary by as much as 27 mm in the left hemisphere and 18 mm in the right for the pixel with the highest significance for blood flow change. There is also an intersubject variability in blood flow change within it in response to the same visual task. V5 nevertheless bears a consistent relationship, within each brain, to the sulcal pattern of the occipital lobe. It is situated ventrolaterally, just posterior to the meeting point of the ascending limb of the inferior temporal sulcus and the lateral occipital sulcus. In position it corresponds almost precisely with Flechsig's Feld 16, one of the areas that he found to be myelinated at birth.