“Our results demonstrate that the structural and functional neuroplastic brain changes occurring as a result of early ocular blindness may be more widespread than initially thought,” said lead author Corinna Bauer, HMS instructor of ophthalmology and a scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear. “We observed significant changes not only in the occipital cortex, where vision is processed, but also areas implicated in memory, language processing and sensory motor functions.”
The researchers used MRI multimodal brain imaging techniques to reveal these changes in a group of 12 subjects who were born with or acquired profound blindness by the age of three. They compared the scans to a group of 16 normally sighted subjects, who were of the same age range. On the scans of those with early blindness, the team observed structural and functional connectivity changes, including evidence of enhanced connections that send information back and forth between areas of the brain not observed in the normally sighted group.
These connections appear to be unique to those with profound blindness, suggesting that the brain “rewires” itself in the absence of visual information to boost other senses. This is possible through the process of neuroplasticity, or the ability of our brains to naturally adapt to our experiences.
- Commentariat ˅
- Selected ˅
- Web Dev ˅
- About/Contact ˅