Seeing Beyond The Visual Cortex

It’s a chilling thought - losing the sense of sight because of severe injury or damage to the brain’s visual cortex. But, is it possible to train a damaged or injured brain to “see” again after such a catastrophic injury? Yes, according to Tony Ro, a neuroscientist at The City College of New York, who is artificially recreating a condition called Blindsight in his lab.  “Blindsight is a condition that some patients experience after having damage to the primary visual cortex in the back of their brains. What happens in these patients is they go cortically blind, yet they can still discriminate visual information, albeit without any awareness.” explains Ro. While no one is ever going to say Blindsight is 20/20, Ro says it holds tantalizing clues to the architecture of the brain. With support from the National Science Foundation, Ro is developing a clearer picture of how other parts of the brain, besides the visual cortex, respond to visual stimuli. He says understanding and mapping those alternative pathways might be the key to new rehabilitative therapies.

Provided by the National Science Foundation

Runtime: 2:38

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