Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why the Deaf Have Enhanced Vision

"Deaf people with enhanced vision can thank otherwise idle brain cells for their heightened sense, a new study in cats suggests.

"That's because the brain recruits cells normally devoted to hearing to help them see better, the research revealed.

"The brain is very efficient and it's not going to let this huge territory that is the auditory cortex and all the processing that it has go to waste," said study leader Stephen Lomber of Canada's University of Western Ontario. The auditory cortex is the part of the brain that controls hearing.

"So it makes sense that other senses will come in and colonize."

Here's the BEST part: "....the research could lead to improved cochlear implants that target specific regions of the auditory cortex, such as the part involved in understanding speech...."

Read the entire fascinating National Geographic article here.