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New Study Teaches Blind People How to “See” Through Sound

A study conducted by the Brain Cognition and Technology Centre at Reichman University showed that sound can trigger the brain’s visual navigation centres.

For the layperson, this means that even if they didn’t learn to “see” around them on their own, the blind can be taught to do so through sound.

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With the potential to delay dementia progression, this finding challenges the Nobel Prize-winning theory of critical times. In the study, sensory substitution devices (SSDs) were utilised to convert sensory information from one sense to another, enabling those without vision to “see” through sounds.

Remarkably, individuals in their 40s to 60s and older showed outstanding training on SSDs, challenging the idea that there are critical ages for sensory maturation.

Congenitally blind people who undergo brief training with the EyeCane SSD can develop selective activation in the brain’s visual navigation regions, such as the area in charge of motion perception and navigation.

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This suggests that the brain may perceive visual activities and attributes despite a lack of prior visual experience if the right technology and training are used.

The study’s findings are significant for enhancing the detection and prevention of the disease as well because spatial problems are a typical early sign of Alzheimer’s disease and navigational and spatial awareness depend on the optical navigation centers of the brain.

By comprehending the neurological mechanisms driving spatial navigation, researchers may be able to identify early biomarkers and targets for medicines meant to stop or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

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