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Alternate Pathway for Processing Vision Discovered

Scientists at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) have discovered an alternate neural pathway for processing vision that could lead to new techniques to restore vision loss following brain injury.

Adult injuries to the visual cortex pathway often result in blindness. However, in children under one year of age, the brain has the ability, known as “plasticity”, to modify these pathways in response to damage and reroute processes through a different part of the brain.

Young children with brain lesions of the type associated with blindness in adults were able to retain their vision by rerouting the visual processes through an area of the brain known as the pulvinar. The pulvinar is part of the thalamus, which functions as the switchboard of the brain, relaying sensory information to different areas.

Novel MRI techniques were used to map these connections as they were reformed following an injury.

Further information: http://monash.edu/news/show/new-pathways-discovered-to-prevent-blindness

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