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.


6 Responses

  1. Bloody Hell Joni!

    You just post about a blind man that can ‘see’

    And simultaneously I post about a ‘face reader’ that is psychic.

    This is spooking me out……

  2. Wow, joni. That’s seriously weird and downright spooky. You should be exorcised. 🙂

  3. “These sort of things interest me after I was struck down with a brain infection called viral encephalitis in 1999.”

    Dreadful stuff. Glad you survived joni.


  4. Sorry to interrupt…….

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  5. I find this personally very interesting joni as my daughter was born with one functioning eye & blind in the other.

    As I understand it the ocular nerve must “see” within a very minimal timeframe after birth or it will never be able to process “sight”.
    Perhaps because this man had presumably seen prior to his stroke his brain has maintained some capacity to process vision(?). Intriguing.

    As you say, “The brain is just an amazing organ.”

  6. No offence, Joni, but this is old news, despite claims that it’s a new phenomenon, and how the dual circuitry works is well-understood (note: not brain damage or an ‘adaptive brain’ per se; everyone has the faculty). It’s actually more disturbing, to this mind, that a reasonably well-respected science journal like New Scientist would sensationalise the topic and pass on less than average scientific information.

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