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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

HUMAN ECHOLOCATION

A recent study has shown that 2 blind men of 43 and 27 years (disabled from 1 1/ 2 years old due to retinoblastoma and optic atrophy, respectively), used to process sounds in the visual cortex employing echolocation (beeping and listen the echo to get object’s environmental information). In the study conducted at the Centre for Brain and Mind (University of Western Ontario/London), were scanned with fMRI (functional MRI),the brain of the 2 men resting in a small tunnel with microphones inserted into their ears records that were processed by a special external software.



From an early age both blind men used batons, their feet and mouths to generate sounds in their brains creating new nervous avenues and experiences. A procedure used by dolphins, shrews, bats and now by humans. Recall the case of Ben Underwood who after losing his sight at age 2 could run, driving a skateboard, play basketball, climb hills and biking. The area to process echoes is not the listening area but visual cortex.

ECOLOCALIZACION HUMANA


Un estudio reciente ha demostrado que 2 ciegos de 43 y 27 años (discapacitados desde los 1 1/2 años a causa de retinoblastoma y atrofia óptica respectivamente), emplean la corteza visual para procesar sonidos valiéndose de ecolocalización (emitir sonidos y luego escuchar el eco para obtener información de objetos medioambientales). En el estudio realizado en el Centre for Brain and Mind (University of Western Ontario/London), se escaneó con fMRI (resonancia magnética funcional), a los sujetos mientras descansaban en un pequeño túnel con micrófonos insertados en sus oídos cuyos registros fueron procesados por softwares externos especiales.



Desde temprana edad ambos ciegos emplean bastones, pies y sonidos bucales para crear en su sistema nervioso nuevas vias y experiencias. Un procedimiento empleado por delfines, musarañas, murciélagos y ahora humanos. Recuérdese el caso de Ben Underwood quien tras perder su vista a los 2 años pudo correr, manejar un skateboard, jugar basketball, escalar cerros y montar bicicleta. Asi pues el area para procesar ecos no es la zona auditiva sino el cortex visual.

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