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Neuroscientists decode brain of blind patient ‘who can see motion’

By: IANS | Toronto |
Updated: June 13, 2018 nine:53:56 pm


Neuroscientists, Western University, brain of blind patient, Riddoch syndrome, blind patient can see motion, functional MRI, visual system, brain tissue The researchers discovered that Canning used to be in a position to recognise the movement, course, measurement and pace of balls rolled against her. (Image: Western University)

In a particularly uncommon case, neuroscientists have mapped the brain of a Scottish girl who’s blind however has advanced the outstanding talent to see items in movement, an advance that unearths how visible and cognitive purposes pass in combination. Milena Canning, a 48-year-old Scottish girl, misplaced her sight 18 years in the past after a breathing an infection and sequence of strokes. Months after rising blind from an eight-week coma, she used to be stunned to see the sparkle of a shiny present bag, like a flash of inexperienced lightning.

To perceive her distinctive imaginative and prescient, scientists on the Western University’s Brain and Mind Institute in Canada carried out checks together with useful Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to inspect the real-time construction and workings of her brain. They made up our minds that Canning has a unprecedented phenomenon referred to as Riddoch syndrome – by which a blind particular person can consciously see a shifting object however now not if its desk bound.

“She is lacking a work of brain tissue concerning the measurement of an apple on the again of her brain – virtually her complete occipital lobes, which procedure imaginative and prescient,” mentioned neuropsychologist Jody Culham, Professor on the varsity. “In Canning’s case, we expect the ‘super-highway’ for the visible device reached a useless finish.

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“But rather than shutting down her whole visual system, she developed some ‘back roads’ that could bypass the superhighway to bring some vision – especially motion – to other parts of the brain,” Culham mentioned, in a paper revealed within the magazine Neuropsychologia. In essence, Canning’s brain is taking sudden, unconventional detours round broken pathways.

The researchers discovered that Canning used to be in a position to recognise the movement, course, measurement and pace of balls rolled against her; and to command her hand to open, intercept and grasp them at precisely the appropriate time. She may additionally navigate round chairs. Yet she unevenly recognized an object’s color, and used to be in a position handiest part the time to hit upon whether or not somebody’s hand in entrance of her confirmed thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

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“I can’t see like normal people see or like I used to see. The things I’m seeing are really strange. There is something happening and my brain is trying to rewire itself or trying different pathways,” Canning mentioned. The analysis displays the outstanding plasticity of the human brain find work-arounds after catastrophic accidents, suggesting typical definitions of “sight” and “blindness” are fuzzier than prior to now believed.

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