Navigation Links
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Date:12/22/2008

Researchers say finding suggests alternate vision routes in the brain

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Call it a case of second sight: Scientists report that a blind man in Switzerland was able to make his way through a maze, even though he has no conscious sensation of seeing the world around him.

This phenomenon is an indication that the human brain has ways of processing vision beyond those that are currently understood, the scientists said.

Visual skills include mechanisms "for orienting and doing in the world rather than for understanding," study lead author Beatrice de Gelder, a researcher at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and Harvard Medical School, said in a news release.

Scientists were already aware of a phenomenon called "blindsight," in which the sightless show the ability to sense things around them. In the case of the man profiled in the new study, for example, he can sense facial expressions, and his brain shows signs of reacting to the emotions shown on the faces of others.

But the study authors said the man also has a skill not seen before in the blind -- the ability to navigate a maze, in this case a series of boxes and chairs placed in his way.

The man, whose age and name were not disclosed, suffered two strokes that damaged the visual centers of his brain. He can't see, and brain scans show no signs of activity in the visual centers, the study authors said.

The researchers wrote that the man walks like a blind man and only gets around with the assistance of another person or a cane.

Still, as the study authors reported in the Dec. 23 issue of the journal Current Biology, the man was able to navigate the maze without any problem and didn't require the help of an assistant who stood by in case he stumbled.

The researchers said it's possible, though unlikely, that the man used sound waves to detect the location of the obstacles.

Colin Ellard, associate chair of the department of psychology at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said the study findings reflect previous research that suggests the comprehension of vision isn't limited to one part of the brain.

The study "is useful in the sense that it adds to a larger story about how vision is organized in the brain," Ellard said. "The take-home message would be that our ability to 'see' consists of a constellation of different types of abilities. Some can help us to understand, think and talk about what is in the external world, but others act to help us organize movements such as reaching or walking to targets. This study highlights the fact that these different abilities depend on different parts of our brain."

More information

Learn more about blindsight from Bryn Mawr University.



SOURCES: Colin Ellard, Ph.D., associate chair, department of psychology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Dec. 23, 2008, Current Biology


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Can brain-injured, partially-blind stroke patients regain some of their lost vision?
2. New discovery may improve treatment of one of the worlds leading causes of blindness
3. Verizon Awards $1.5 Million Grant to Expand American Foundation for the Blinds Web Site for Seniors With Age-Related Vision Loss
4. Blinded by the Light? Vision Problems and Visual Discomfort Make Driving in the Dark Difficult, Uncomfortable for Most Americans
5. Diabetes: A Top Cause of Blindness Among Adults
6. Survey Confirms Americans Have a True Blind Spot Regarding Their Eye Health - and the Real Danger of UV Rays
7. STEP HIV vaccine study to be unblinded
8. Gene therapy safety trial for childhood blindness under way
9. National Federation of the Blind to Award $100,000
10. Blind humans lacking rods and cones retain normal responses to non-visual effects of light
11. Champion of blinded soldiers, Congressman Murtha, is Man of Vision
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... Anesthesia Progress – Everyone wants ... the best drug option for each patient. Dentists have several general anesthesia alternatives and ... , Researchers from the Tokyo Dental College in Tokyo, Japan wanted to find out ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... Healthful ... , The company, owned and operated by Ed Stroup, was created to offer ... with the highest level of customer service. Healthful Balance products can be purchased ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... Clemente, CA (PRWEB) , ... January 17, 2017 ... ... Diego County, as well as Palm Desert, is opening a new office in ... Brainsway deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) in Southern California, successfully treating individuals struggling ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... A prescription medication bottle, pocket ... fourth Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge , the Cradle to Cradle ... of six circular design challenges scheduled to run through early 2018. The challenges are ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 17, 2017 , ... Livionex, Inc., ... results of a double blind clinical study for its dental gel that shows significant ... national brand of toothpaste containing triclosan. The study was conducted at the Beckman Laser ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... YORK , January 18, 2017 ... of people regarding the use of cannabis both for medical ... only are more Americans open to the use of cannabis, ... financial sectors. According to Arcview Market Research, the North American ... up 30% from the previous year. The research projects sales ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... 2017 Precision medicine is an emerging ... of disease. The approach allows doctors and physicians ... The approach studies the individual profile at a ... In January 2015, Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) was ... with more than one million volunteers. All of ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , Jan. 17, 2017 EU5 Glucose Monitoring ... new report, "EU5 Glucose Monitoring Market Outlook to 2022", ... market. The report provides value, in millions of US ... market segments - Blood Glucose Meters, Blood Glucose Test ... shares and distribution shares data for each of these ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: