21.11.2008

MD patients "make compensations"

MD patients "make compensations"

People losing their vision due to macular degeneration can make up for it by using another part of their retina, according to research.

Moreover, the brain reshuffles its neural connections so it can decode the information the eye is sending to it.

The Georgia Tech study revealed patients who compensate for their loss of vision from the centre of their eye by using other areas of the retina have made an important behavioural leap.

A group of 13 volunteers underwent a series of tests designed to visually stimulate their peripheral regions.

Their brain activity was monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

The team reported that while previous evidence has suggested the brain can reorganise itself, this is the first study to show this is down to a change in patient behaviour - using a different part of the retina.

Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness in older people.

by Emily Tait


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