Navigation Links
'I can hear a building over there'
Date:5/25/2011

It is common knowledge that bats and dolphins echolocate, emitting bursts of sounds and then listening to the echoes that bounce back to detect objects. What is less well-known is that people can echolocate too. In fact, there are blind people who have learned to make clicks with their mouths and to use the returning echoes from those clicks to sense their surroundings. Some of these individuals are so adept at echolocation that they can use this skill to navigate unknown environments, and participate in activities such as mountain biking and basketball.

Researchers at The University of Western Ontario's Centre for Brain and Mind (London, Ontario, Canada) have recently shown that blind echolocation experts use what is normally the 'visual' part of their brain to process the clicks and echoes. The study, appearing this month in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, is the first to investigate the neural basis of natural human echolocation.

Senior author Mel Goodale, Canada Research Chair in Visual Neuroscience, and Director of the Centre for Brain and Mind, says, "It is clear echolocation enables blind people to do things otherwise thought to be impossible without vision and can provide blind and visually-impaired people with a high degree of independence."

Goodale and his team of researchers first made recordings of the clicks and their very faint echoes using tiny microphones in the ears of the blind echolocators as they stood outside and tried to identify different objects such as a car, a flag pole, and a tree. The researchers then played the recorded sounds back to the echolocators while their brain activity was being measured in Western's state-of-the-art 3T functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scanner.

Remarkably, when the echolocation recordings were played back to the blind experts, not only did they perceive the objects based on the echoes, but they also showed activity in those areas of their brain that normally process visual information in sighted people. Most interestingly, the brain areas that process auditory information were no more activated by sound recordings of outdoor scenes containing echoes than they were by sound recordings of outdoor scenes with the echoes removed.

When the same experiment was carried out with sighted control people who did not echolocate, these individuals could not perceive the objects, and neither did their brain show any echo-related activity, suggesting visual brain areas play an important role for echolocation in blind people.

According to Goodale, this research will provide a deeper understanding of brain function, particularly how the senses are processed and what happens neurologically when one sense is lost.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mel Goodale
mgoodale@uwo.ca
519-661-2070
University of Western Ontario
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Ecumen Building Senior Housing in Apple Valley, Minnesota and Will Manage New Maplewood, Minnesota Property
2. Grubb & Ellis Healthcare REIT II Enters Agreement to Acquire Lacombe Medical Office Building Near New Orleans
3. Healthcare Trust of America, Inc. Executes Agreement to Acquire an Approximately 60,300 Square Foot Medical Office Building in Sugar Land, Texas
4. Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Awards International Medical Corps $500,000 for Emergency Medical Care and Long-Term Rebuilding
5. New Building at University of Michigan Health System Expands Eye Care, Unites Diabetes Researchers
6. Healthcare Trust of America, Inc. Executes Agreement to Acquire an Approximately 60,800 Square Foot Medical Office Building in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
7. A Warning to Negligent Apartment Building Landlords in New York From Personal Injury Lawyer, David Perecman
8. Building Olympic Champions Starts With Addressing Childhood Obesity
9. Morehead Webinar to Discuss Building Workforce Commitment
10. Quantity vs. quality: Long-term use of bone-building osteoporosis drugs
11. Radon in residential buildings: A risk factor for lung cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... 21, 2017 , ... With ProSlideshow Portrait from Pixel Film Studios creating a ... select from up to two layers of subject matter along with fully customizable backdrop ... Final Cut Pro X. , With ProSlideshow Portrait each user are given ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... Falls Church, VA (PRWEB) , ... September 21, ... ... **An FDAnews Webinar**, Sept. 26, 2017 — 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET, ... exacting business. It’s easy to get things wrong, run afoul of The Quality ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... September 21, 2017 ... ... a lunch and learn with Infinity Behavioral Health Services for professionals in the ... in a Commercial Payer Audit . , Insurance companies and state and ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... IL. (PRWEB) , ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... results released today of a new member survey conducted by the International ... restoration procedures performed from 2014 to 2016 rose 60 percent, with 635,189 procedures ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... Bill Howe Plumbing’s mission is to create an ... to the community. For over 37 years, they have operated with their mission at ... in San Diego. They were chosen as the Best San Diego plumber in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/7/2017)... 7, 2017 Caris Life Sciences, a ... the promise of precision medicine, today announced results ... of its molecular profiling approach in guiding therapeutic ... profiling plus (CGP+) with Caris Molecular Intelligence ® ... a molecular level, leading to more therapeutic options ...
(Date:9/6/2017)... TORONTO , Sept. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... new knowledge and skills while treating their ... for hands-on experience without involving patients. Simulation ... skills. Clinicians can carry out procedures, refine ... at risk. Integration of new technology, such ...
(Date:9/5/2017)... 5, 2017  Xyntek Inc. has announced another milestone in their continued growth ... to meet the growing demands of customer engagements regionally.  ... Xyntek's new Midwest office is located at 318 West Adams Street, Suite ... Xyntek's ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: