Navigation Links
Hear to see: New method for the treatment of visual field defects

Patients who are blind in one side of their visual field benefit from presentation of sounds on the affected side. After passively hearing sounds for an hour, their visual detection of light stimuli in the blind half of their visual field improved significantly. Neural pathways that simultaneously process information from different senses are responsible for this effect. "We have embarked on a whole new therapy approach" says PD Dr. Jrg Lewald from the RUB's Cognitive Psychology Unit. Together with colleagues from the Neurological University Clinic at Bergmannsheil (Prof. Dr. Martin Tegenthoff) and Durham University (PD Dr. Markus Hausmann), he describes the results in PLoS ONE.

Passive listening rather than extensive visual training

To investigate the effectiveness of the auditory stimulation, the research team carried out a visual test before and after the acoustic stimulation. Patients were asked to determine the position of light flashes in the healthy and in the blind field of vision. While performance was stable in the intact half of their field of vision, the number of correct answers in the blind half increased after the auditory stimulation. This effect lasted for 1.5 hours. "In other treatments, the patients undergo arduous and time-consuming visual training" explains Lewald. "The therapeutic results are moderate and vary greatly from patient to patient. Our result suggests that passive hearing alone can improve vision temporarily."

The origin of visual field defects

If strokes or injuries cause damage to the area of the brain that processes the information of the visual sense, this results in a visual field defect. The area most commonly affected is the primary visual cortex, the first processing point for visual input to the cerebral cortex. The more neurons die in this brain area, the bigger the visual deficit. Usually the entire half of the visual field is affected, a condition known as hemianopia. "Hemianopia restricts patients immensely in their everyday life" says Lewald. "When objects or people are missed on the blind side, this can quickly lead to accidents."

How the brain integrates sensory information

"There is increasing evidence that processing of incoming sensory information is not strictly separated in the brain", says Lewald. "At various stages there are connections between the sensory systems." In particular the nerve cells in the so-termed superior colliculus, part of the midbrain, process auditory and visual information simultaneously. This area is not usually affected by visual field defects, and thus continues to analyse visual stimuli. Therefore, remaining visual functions are retained in the blind half, which the patients, however, are not aware of. "Since the same nerve cells also receive auditory information, we had the idea to use acoustic stimuli to increase their sensitivity to light stimuli" says Lewald.

New research issues

The team of researchers now aims to further refine their therapy approach in order to reveal sustained improvement in visual functioning. They will also investigate whether the stimulation of the sense of hearing also has an effect on more complex visual functions. Finally, they aim to explore the mechanisms that underlie the effect observed.


Contact: Dr. Joerg Lewald
Ruhr-University Bochum

Related medicine news :

1. Live with Regis and Kelly Reveal A REVOLUTIONARY Pain Relief Method
2. Two Surgical Methods Equally Successful for Prostate Cancer
3. Psychiatrys main method to prevent mistaken diagnoses of depression doesnt work: NYU study
4. New testing method hints at garlics cancer-fighting potential
5. MSU scientists develop more effective method of predicting lead-poisoning risk
6. Blood Draw Dilemma: New Summit Health Article Helps Employers Choose the Best Screening Method
7. Worlds most useful tree provides low-cost water purification method for developing world
8. FDA, FSIS, CDC Collaborate on Methods to Measure Success of Food Safety Programs
9. Los Angeles Hair Transplant Cosmetic Surgeon Corrects Bad Hair Transplants With New Hair Restoration Method
10. An improved method for calculating tumor growth
11. New method to grow arteries could lead to biological bypass for heart disease
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... IN (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... benefits advisory organization, is pleased to welcome Winter-Dent & Company as its newest ... from day one to become a client's most trusted advisor regardless of whether ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Serenity Point Rehabilitation, a ... of recent video interviews with some of the staff members at their recovery center. ... treatment facility, as well as some of the things that make their recovery program ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Abington Hospital ... Aetna Institute of Quality® Bariatric Surgery Facility for treating individuals living with morbid ... health care services available to its members to help them make informed decisions ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... and Healthy Aging Program have announced their endorsement of the Medical Fitness ... Health Fitness is proud to have the MFN as one of our endorsed ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... World Patent ... Blending, a household invention that revolutionizes the vending machine industry by providing healthy ... is worth $2 billion," says Scott Cooper, CEO and Creative Director of World ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  DILON Diagnostics and GE Healthcare are ... for DILON to distribute GE,s Discovery NM750b Molecular Breast ... of this distribution agreement will provide Dilon,s experienced distribution ... system and is considered an initial step in an ... for clinicians and their patients. --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... COMMACK, N.Y. , Nov. 24, 2015 ... Pacemaker System, is pleased to announce the appointment of ... ... and pediatric cardiology at Children,s Hospital, Uppsala University, Uppsala ... . From 1984-1986, he was a fellow at the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... BERN, Switzerland , November 24, 2015 ... for Biomedical Engineering Research of the University of ... Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition of the Bern University ... an exclusive collaboration to develop a novel generation artificial ... personalised delivery of insulin for diabetic patients with the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: