Australian boy can see without brain region dedicated to vision

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A case has been discovered in Australia that is making doctors perplexed, the case of a young boy who can see well enough to recognize faces but who lacks much of the region of the cortex responsible for vision. The seven-year-old boy suffered significant brain damage, which doctors said should have left him unable to see, and instead he has only a lack of vision.

It was during a neuroscience conference in Sydney this week, with researchers from the Australian Institute of Regenerative Medicine at Monash University, that they presented the case in question.

When he was only two weeks old, the boy suffered from a bilateral occipital lobe very significant lesion in the cortex of vision, which is the region of the brain responsible for interpreting the information from the retina and converting it into images. More concretely, in the background, the retina sends messages through the optic nerve to a zone of the thalamus known as inferior pulvinar, which helps to control and focus the eyes based on the objects present in the field of view.

The boy suffers from a condition that prevents the tissues from being able to convert fat into energy, and as a result, suffered an injury to the visual area of the cortex known as V1, which according to doctors’ knowledge should have interfered with the process of converting information into a coherent image, but this did not happen.

Usually lesions in V1 create a type of blindness characterized by the fact that the eyes see but are not aware of this act but nevertheless continue to react to visual stimuli and have the ability to detect movements, proving that the individual is not simply guessing.

Doctors believe that the case of this young man is so unique that he can generate the images, because this lesion was manifested when he was still a newborn, thus allowing the brain to adapt and use a different region of the brain to generate images through visual information.

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