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:10/13/2017)... VA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... of DevOps and Agile Software Development, has been awarded a contract by the ... Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) aims to accelerate the enterprise use of Agile methodologies ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history of the United States and the ... published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his wife, Millie, have six children, ... in the Navy. Following his career as a naval aviator and carrier pilot, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... are now treating sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As ... serious sleep disorder characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to Adults ... tested to meet the highest standard. , These products are also: Gluten ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... The American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) will present ... the Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. AMIA’s Annual Symposium ... Collen, a pioneer in the field of medical informatics, this prestigious award is presented ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE: ... drug administration, today announced that it will release third-quarter ... October 26, 2017, and will follow with a conference ... 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. To participate on the call, ... ID is 94093362. ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... 2017  Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. ("Hill-Rom") (NYSE: HRC), today ... Las Piedras, Puerto Rico , where ... Following a comprehensive ... minor structural damage, temporary loss of power and minimal ... completed, manufacturing operations have resumed, and the company expects ...
(Date:10/5/2017)...  In response to the nationwide opioid epidemic, ... (AAOMS) released prescribing recommendations that urge ibuprofen – ... a first-line therapy to manage a patient,s acute ... Recognizing the value and importance of the ... Acute and Postoperative Pain Management" stresses that practitioners ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: