Last week I read a fascinating article on what is being called Blindsight.
A blind man has surprised scientists by walking an obstacle course with the strange power of “blindsight,” the Times of London reports. The man, blinded by brain-damaging strokes, cleanly walked the course without using a cane. He had already baffled experts by reacting to people’s facial expressions.
It seems that even though his eyes are perfect – he cannot see because of stroke damage to his cerebral cortex, but he is able to “subconsciously react to visual information”.
These sort of things interest me after I was struck down with a brain infection called viral encephalitis in 1999 – which nearly killed me, and left me with a memory loss of the three years before I was sick (amongst other weird and wonderful side-effects). The doctors say that my memory is still there, just that I cannot access it – sort of like the index is lost. About a year after I recovered I was talking to my mother about a trip we did to NYC that I could not remember, and she was telling me about the fire in the building opposite and how flames were coming out of the windows. At that point – all of my memory of NYC came back. Weird eh?
The brain is just an amazing organ.