Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Can Targeted Brain Therapy Correct Everything?

Well maybe not, but the neurorehabilitation and neuro-education are exploding fields for good reasons, and it's clear we've only begun to understand how we can correct and improve basic perception (e.g. seeing, hearing, touch) and perceptual learning.

The first paper below is from Current Biology showing how the brain can be made more sensitive to seeing a novel visual stimulus. This has importance for all sorts of people who depend on their critical 'vision' for work, creative activity, or recreation, but also for children who have visual processing or perceptual problems that interfere with daily activities involving reading, watching, learning, or playing. The green condition below was a novel 'oblique' pattern. What the scientists could see is how the primary visual cortex become more sensitized to seeing it.

Below researchers at U.C. Davis were able to use software to improve auditory discrimination of phonemes and voices in patients with sensorineural hearing loss - that's right, like age-related or noise-induced hearing loss. Pretty amazing. Because of the wonderful compensatory nature of the brain, as long as deficits are partial, there is enormous potential to correct deficits by specifically targeting training.

Training to See
Training to Hear

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