Toronto : In an extremely rare case, neuroscientists have mapped the brain of a Scottish woman who is blind but has developed the remarkable ability to see objects in motion, an advance that reveals how visual and cognitive functions go together.
Neuroscientists decode brain of blind patient who can see motion
They determined that Canning has a rare phenomenon called Riddoch syndrome -- in which a blind person can consciously see a moving object but not if its stationary. In essence, Canning's brain is taking unexpected, unconventional detours around damaged pathways. The researchers found that Canning was able to recognise the motion, direction, size and speed of balls rolled towards her; and to command her hand to open, intercept and grab them at exactly the right time. She could also navigate around chairs.
Yet she inconsistently identified an object's colour, and was able only half the time to detect whether someone's hand in front of her showed thumbs-up or thumbs-down. The research shows the remarkable plasticity of the human brain in finding work-arounds after catastrophic injuries, suggesting conventional definitions of "sight" and "blindness" are fuzzier than previously believed.