12.03.2014

Magnet "cures" partial blindness

Magnet "cures" partial blindness

A patient with partial sight has experienced seeing colour for the first time in decades, during an experiment using a magnetic field.

Lead scientist Juha Silvanto employed a magnetic coil to stimulate the patient"s brain, demonstrating for the first time 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, explained the experiment showed 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" he said.

The partially sighted patient - who had a condition known as blindsight - had not seen properly using his blind field for more than 40 years.

Blindsighted people typically demonstrate a response to visual stimuli, without any qualitative experience, while being for all intents and purposes blind in a certain area of their visual field.

by Alexa Kaczka


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