Navigation Links
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease

Neurons seek input from undamaged areas to compensate, study finds

TUESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- When macular degeneration causes one to start losing his or her sight, the affected neurons simply start seeking visual input from other, non-affected parts of the eye, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers report.

"This study shows us one way that the brain changes when its inputs change. Neurons seem to want to receive input: When their usual input disappears, they start responding to the next best thing," senior author Nancy Kanwisher, of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research, said in an university news release.

The researchers found when the cells in the fovea, the part of the retina responsible for the central field of vision, were damaged by macular degeneration (MD) -- the neuron attached to them begin responding to stimuli in an undamaged section -- a type of internal reorganization of the eye's visual map as opposed to the cortex's work being shifting to other neurons.

"Our study shows that the changes we see in neural response in people with MD are probably driven by the lack of input to a population of neurons, not by a change in visual information-processing strategy," Kanwisher said.

The findings are published in the March 4 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Macular degeneration, the most common form of adult blindness, affects almost 2 million people in the United States. Patients often compensate for lack of central vision by rolling their eyes upward so they can utilize the preferred retinal locus (PRL), an undamaged area under and adjacent to the affected part of the retina.

"Macular degeneration is a great opportunity to learn more about plasticity in the adult cortex," Kanwisher said.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about macular degeneration.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, news release, March 3, 2009

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. UCI scientists to study brain region linked to autism, schizophrenia
2. Schizophrenia linked to signaling problems in new brain study
3. ProteoTech Receives Funding From The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Disease Research to Develop Tools for Imaging Alpha-Synuclein Aggregation in Living Parkinsons Brain
4. Sex is in the brain, says new research from Stanford
5. Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics and BrainLAB Announce Exclusive Computer-Assisted Surgery Development Agreement
6. M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Acquires Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion for Targeted Brain Lesion Treatments
7. Physical fitness improves spatial memory, increases size of brain structure
8. Billions for Bank Bailouts, But How to Rebuild the Brands? NeuroFocus Reveals New Brainwave-Based Solutions
9. Thrill-Seekers Brains May Be Wired Differently
10. 2 gene mutations linked to most common brain cancers -- and longer survival
11. Genetic Mutations Linked to Deadly Brain Cancer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Newly reviewed and approved “NJ ... graduated from Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1935. His father graduated from ... family being in dentistry as well as their commitment and passion to the Practice ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The ... National Poison Data System (NPDS) reveals that in 2014, someone called a poison ... over two million of which were human exposure cases. , The American Association ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... , ... Two years ago, Debbie Gregory, the CEO of, found herself ... Meditation (TM). After encouraging a number of veterans to go through the program, ... the talk. , TM is becoming one of the best alternative treatments for Post-Traumatic ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) announced today that it has launched ... ASCP shared its “Give a minute. Get tested. Find a cure.” icon and infographic ... tested for HIV. , ASCP has asked members to replace their Facebook, Twitter, or ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Beach, FL (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 ... ... of Consumer Reports magazine, quoted Michael Hansen, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Consumer ... and even more so for a child’s exposure limits. , The original Nov ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... REHOVOT, Israel , Nov. 30, 2015 ... focused on acquiring and developing innovative therapies for ear, ... of Keith A. Katkin as chairman of ... Flesher , chief executive officer for OticPharma, Ltd.  "Keith ... As chairman, he will be able to share this ...
(Date:11/29/2015)...  Strengthening its leadership in connected healthcare informatics, ... IntelliSpace Portal 8.0 , the latest edition of ... helps radiologists detect, diagnose and follow-up on treatment of ... North America Annual Meeting (RSNA) in ... the changing demands in radiology that result from an ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... GE Health Cloud 1 was unveiled today at the ... America (RSNA) meeting in Chicago ... ecosystem and its applications will connect radiologists and clinicians to ... – both inside and outside the hospital setting. ... the digital industrial leader, we are betting big on the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: