April 04, 2007

Let There Be Light

All in the Mind has done it again, this time providing a two-part series on the Blind Brain. I've only listened to part one, but I could barely concentrate on driving because the story was so fascinating.

Natasha Mitchell spoke with three scientists deeply involved in the areas of vision, the brain, and plasticity:
- Australian psychologist Zoltan Torey, whom New Yorker readers will remember from the 2003 Oliver Sacks story "The Mind's Eye; What the blind see" as a blind man who replaced his own roof. Torey speaks in detail about how he 'sees' after having been blinded over 50 years ago.
- MIT's Pawan Sinha, who runs Project Prakash, whose goal is to "...help curably blind children, especially in India, access the surgery they need to see, and study how their progress in the effort to gain insights into how the brain learns to see." Fascinating insight into how people can regain sight (mostly those born with curable vision problems), and what happens in the brain when they do.
- Harvard's Amir Amedi, who is studying "brain stimulation techniques to study the brains of blind people" along with Alvaro Pascual-Leone (who's written / studied a lot about brain plasticity).

Absolutely *fascinating* research all around. The All in the Mind site includes the audio version of the show (streaming & a downloadable mp3), a print transcript, brief info. about the show, and links to research by all three of the episode's guests.

If I were a grading kind of girl, I'd give this show an A.

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