1032 GMT February 19, 2020
The findings dispel the nearly half-century belief that the visual cortex, the area of the brain concerned with the sense of sight, completely fails to develop properly in people who are blind at birth, suggesting it might not be completely correct, Science Daily said.
"Though the 'blind brain' wiring may change greatly in the blind in its frontal language related parts, it still retains the most fundamental topographical and functional connectivity organizational principles of the visual cortex, known as 'retinotopic mapping', the processing of two-dimensional visual images through the eye," said co-lead researcher Amir Amedi, associate professor of medical neurobiology at Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences and IMRIC, Canada.
Operating within the Hebrew University's Faculty of Medicine, IMRIC coordinates research within the departmental areas of medical neurobiology, molecular genetics and biology, immunology and cancer research.
The researchers found that the same "mapping" divisions-of-labor present in the normally sighted brain are also present in the brains of people born blind as reflected from their resting state connectivity patterns. This fundamental organization of the visual cortex was even found in people whose eyes did not develop normally, suggesting normal eye development may not be necessary for the establishment of large-scale functional connectivity network mapping in the most fundamental visual areas like V1, the primary visual cortex.