Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The blind also have a Stripe of Gennari

23.02.2011
The Stripe of Gennari develops even in those who are blind from birth and does not degenerate, despite a lack of visual input. This was discovered by Robert Trampel and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences using magnetic resonance imaging.

This bundle of nerve fibers, which is approximately 0.3 mm thick, is not exclusively responsible for optic information. In the blind, it might play a greater role in processing tactile stimuli. This could contribute to an enhanced sense of touch and support fast reading of Braille. (Cerebral Cortex, Online 10. 02. 2011)

The Stripe of Gennari – also known as the 'Stria of Gennari' – transverses the gray matter of the primary visual cortex as a distinct white line. "Although the visual cortex is one of the best-studied parts of the brain, and the Stripe of Gennari is a rather obvious structure, why it develops and what its function is has not previously been studied in detail", explains Robert Trampel from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. "An obvious connection with sight was assumed."

However, as is now clear, this cannot be the only function of the stripe of Gennari: In a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, the researchers found the stripe of Gennari in the brains of congenitally blind subjects. "This brain structure therefore can't exclusively be involved in vision and must be capable of carrying out other tasks", says Trampel. In the blind, the Stripe of Gennari could play a role in supporting the sense of touch, the scientists speculate. "This faculty is essential in reading Braille and the region carrying the Gennari-Stripe is known to show an increased activity in the blind when performing this task." All participants in the present study were highly proficient in reading Braille, having responded to an advertisement written in Braille in a newspaper for the visually impaired.

However, since the stripe of Gennari is already present in the first years of life and does not degenerate, it is likely to have an important role already in early infancy. In blind people, the brain uses tactile and acoustic stimuli to construct a rough spatial representation of the surroundings in the absence of visual information. The stripe of Gennari might play a role in this process and could later support highly demanding tactile tasks, like Braille-reading. In future studies with fMRI, the researchers aim to learn more about the work of this versatile nerve bundle in the human brain.

Peter Zekert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mpg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>