The Blind Really Do Hear Better
Nearly everyone has heard the popular notion that the blind hear better than the sighted – possibly to make up for their inability to see. Now, researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), McGill University and at the Université de Montréal have shown that the blind really do hear notes more precisely but only if they became blind when they were very young. Their findings, Pitch discrimination in the Early Blind, were published in the journal Nature (July 15th).
Dr. Robert Zatorre, a cognitive neuroscientist at the MNI at McGill University, and member of the research team, explained that the idea that blindness can aid musical development is an old one. However, previous studies have not been able to quantify this possibly because they did not take into account the age at which subjects went blind.
In the present study, researchers at McGill and at Université de Montréal tested people from 3 categories: those who were fully sighted, “early blind” (blind at birth or lost their sight during the first two years of life), and “late blind” (those who became blind later in life). The groups were tested for their ability to recognize changes in pitch. The subject listened to a pair of tones and had to decide whether the second tone was higher or lower than the first.
Early blind subjects outperformed the other groups in every task, continuing to make correct distinctions as the notes got either shorter or closer in pitch. However, there were no significant differences in performance between sighted and late blind subjects.
These findings reveal the brains capacity to reorganize itself early in life. At birth, the brains centres for vision, hearing and other senses are all connected. Pascal Belin at the Université de Montréal and study leader believes that these connections which are gradually eliminated in normal development, might be preserved and used in the early blind to process sounds.
Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Health and Medicine
This subject area encompasses research and studies in the field of human medicine.
Among the wide-ranging list of topics covered here are anesthesiology, anatomy, surgery, human genetics, hygiene and environmental medicine, internal medicine, neurology, pharmacology, physiology, urology and dental medicine.
Smart sensors for future fast charging batteries
European project “Spartacus” launched Faster charging, longer stability of performance not only for electric vehicles but also for smartphones and other battery powered products. What still sounds like science fiction…
Small molecules control bacterial resistance to antibiotics
Antibiotics have revolutionized medicine by providing effective treatments for infectious diseases such as cholera. But the pathogens that cause disease are increasingly developing resistance to the antibiotics that are most…