The brain of someone born blind creates new connections since it lacks visual information to process. This causes the other senses to be far more developed that those same senses in someone who can see. This was the finding of the Foundation for Eye Research in Massachusetts
Researcher also found that in addition to the other senses like smell, touch and hearing that were more developed in people born blind, their cognitive function like memory and language skills were also more developed. This study that was publicized this past Thursday (March 23rd) is the first scientific proof to the idea that the brain of those blind from birth is structured differently than those born with vision in order to compensate for their inability to see.
“Our results show that the structural and functional changes that take place as a result of blindness happen earlier than we thought” Says Dr. Corina M. Bauer who is leading the research. “We found dramatic changes not only in the part of the brain that processes vision but in the parts that are responsible for memory, language skills and motor and sensory functions.”
These findings were discovered after doing MRI scans on 12 people blind either from birth or before the age of three and theses scans were compared with those of 16 people who could see. It was found that in the brains of those blind the different parts of their brain communicated with each other in a manner different from those who could see.
The researchers hope that with better understanding of these differences they can help rehabilitate blind people and help them compensate for their blindness more effectively.
“Even in a case of total blindness the brain rewires itself in a new way to be able to use the information it receives in order to communicate with the environment more effectively.”