Using a magnetic coil to stimulate the patient’s brain, Juha Silvanto demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to experience visual sensations of colour in an area of blindness caused by a cortical brain lesion.
Dr Silvanto, a lecturer in visual perception from the Department of Psychology, explained: ‘We demonstrated that the undamaged side of the patient’s brain had taken over the function of colour perception.
‘This technique demonstrates that it is possible to restore visual awareness but we don’t yet understand the neural mechanisms. If further research enables us to uncover this process, it opens up the possibility of therapeutic treatment.’
Working with Alan Cowey from the University of Oxford and Vincent Walsh from University College London, Dr Silvanto tested a patient who had suffered damage to the primary visual cortex of his brain in a childhood accident. The lesion to this part of his brain considered essential for vision has left him with a reduced field of vision on his right side.
The researchers demonstrated that the colour shown to the patient’s intact (left) visual field determined what colour he saw in his blind field. By first presenting a red stimulus to his intact visual field, this created the sensation of seeing red also in the blind field when his visual cortex was subsequently stimulated using magnetic stimulation.
The partially sighted patient had previously been unable to experience visual perception in his blind field for more than 40 years.
While this was a short-term effect, it opens up the prospect of developing longer-lasting therapy to recover visual function, for example in stroke patients.
Victoria Bartholomew | alfa
'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS
New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Information Technology
19.02.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences