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Hear to see: New method for the treatment of visual field defects
Date:5/30/2012

ianopia. "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.


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Contact: Dr. Joerg Lewald
joerg.lewald@rub.de
49-234-322-5137
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

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