October 11, 2010 | David F. Coppedge

Brain Rewires for Lost Senses

Born without vision or hearing?  The brain can apparently rewire itself to accommodate the loss, reported the BBC News.  Dr Stephen Lomber, who led research published in Nature Neuroscience, said:

The brain is very efficient, and doesn’t let unused space go to waste.
    The brain wants to compensate for the lost sense with enhancements that are beneficial.
    For example, if you’re deaf, you would benefit by seeing a car coming far off in your peripheral vision, because you can’t hear that car approaching from the side – the same with being to [sic] more accurately detect how fast something is moving.

Dr. Lomber’s team studied the peripheral vision of congenitally deaf cats.  The general principle was that the brain does not like to let unused capacity go to waste.  “Both deaf and blind people frequently say their other senses are sharper by way of compensation.

Compensation algorithms?  Rewiring?  Explain that, Darwin – and we don’t mean “explain” by telling us a once-upon-a-time story.

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