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:6/27/2016)... Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... are fully customizable inside of Final Cut Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO ... another unique style. Final Cut Pro X users can now reveal the ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... industry today announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader ... two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... , ... recently awarded their highest five-star rating to Best Buy Eyeglasses, ... the United States and Canada wear eyeglasses. Once considered to be a purely functional ... a fashion statement. Even celebrities use glasses as a way of creating an iconic ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever Recovery, a holistic treatment ... Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation facility is located. This ... of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast foods. Its residents often ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health Supply is ... of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs that have ... Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia Root Extract ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... Pharma News Issue 52" report to their offering. ... in influenza treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune ... growing patient base that will serve to drive considerable growth ... vaccine would serve to cap sales considerably, but development is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... and INDIANAPOLIS , June ... receiving a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is any ... scholarship winners, announced today online at ... type 1 diabetes stand in the way of academic ... supported the Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, and continues ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Guerbet announced today that it has ... Horizon Award . One of 12 suppliers ... for its support of Premier members through exceptional local ... and commitment to lower costs. ... of our outstanding customer service from Premier," says ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: