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Teaching the blind to draw -- and do STEM
$1 million NIH technology transfer grant will speed adoption of interactive raised line graphics devices in schools that help young blind students learn to draw and, later, facilitate their taking math and science courses that require them to interact with graphics. The devices were developed by University of Vermont start-up E.A.S.Y. LLC. (2015-11-05)

Study investigates whether blind people characterize others by race
Most people who meet a new acquaintance, or merely pass someone on the street, need only a glance to categorize that person as a particular race. But, sociologist Asia Friedman wondered, what can we learn about that automatic visual processing from people who are unable to see? (2015-08-25)

Do blind people express their emotions in the same way as people who can see?
Facial expressions play a powerful role in social interactions and are articulated and understood thanks to universal codes. Common sense sees this enterprise as an act of imitation: children imitate their parents by reproducing the facial expression linked to each emotion. But if this is the case, does the same hold true for people who were born blind? The UNIGE researchers analyzed 21 scientific studies conducted between 1932 and 2015 to find the answer. (2017-07-04)

At last, an AI that outperforms humans in six-player poker
Achieving a milestone in artificial intelligence (AI) by moving beyond settings involving only two players, researchers present an AI that can outperform top human professionals in six-player no-limit Texas hold'em poker, the most popular form of poker played today. (2019-07-11)

Gene therapy shows promise for reversing blindness
Most causes of untreatable blindness occur due to loss of the millions of light sensitive photoreceptor cells that line the retina, similar to the pixels in a digital camera. (2017-10-02)

Researchers detect receptor for day/night cycles
It's been something of a mystery to scientists - how are blind mice able to synchronize their biological rhythms to day and night? New research by a team of scientists, including one from the University of Toronto, seems to have uncovered the answer. (2003-06-23)

Blind people perceive touch faster than those with sight
People who are blind from birth are able to detect tactile information faster than people with normal vision, according to a study in the Oct. 27 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. (2010-10-26)

Younger brains are easier to rewire
A new paper from MIT neuroscientists, in collaboration with Alvaro Pascual-Leone at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, offers evidence that it is easier to rewire the brain early in life. The researchers found that a small part of the brain's visual cortex that processes motion became reorganized only in the brains of subjects who had been born blind, not those who became blind later in life. (2010-10-21)

Map makers can avoid confusing the color blind
For 8 percent of men, color blindness is not just a fashion inconvenience, but an impairment that makes reading maps and other visual data difficult if not impossible. Now, a Penn State geographer has developed color schemes that allow most color-blind people to interpret the images. (2000-04-24)

Study finds blind people depend on timing cues for some spatial awareness
It's a popular idea in books and movies that blind people develop super sensitive hearing to help navigate the world around them. But a study, published Aug. 1 in the journal iScience, shows that, in at least one situation, blind people have more trouble discerning the location of sounds than do people who can see. (2018-08-01)

GUMC researchers find the blind use visual brain area to improve other senses
People who have been blind from birth make use of the visual parts of their brain to refine their sensation of sound and touch, according to an international team of researchers led by neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center. (2010-10-06)

Infants with blind parents pay less attention to eyes
For parents of young children, there are few milestones more memorable than that first word. But people communicate an awful lot to each other without ever saying anything at all. So, how do infants learn to communicate with the people around them nonverbally, through eye contact? Researchers reporting in Current Biology on Nov. 19 have some new insight into this silent form of communication from an unlikely source: the sighted children of blind parents. (2015-11-19)

Progeny of blind cavefish can regain their sight
Blind cavefish whose eyes have withered while living in complete darkness over the course of evolutionary time can be made to see again, according to a report in the Jan. 8 Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press. (2008-01-07)

How blindness shapes sound processing
Adults who lost their vision at an early age have more refined auditory cortex responses to simple sounds than sighted individuals, according to new neuroimaging research published in JNeurosci. The study is among the first to investigate the effects of early blindness on this brain region, which may contribute to superior hearing in the blind. (2019-04-22)

MIT: Adult brain changes with unsuspected speed
The human brain can adapt to changing demands even in adulthood, but MIT neuroscientists have now found evidence of it changing with unsuspected speed. Their findings suggest that the brain has a network of silent connections that underlie its plasticity. (2009-07-14)

'I can hear a building over there'
Researchers at the University of Western Ontario's Centre for Brain and Mind have recently shown that blind echolocation experts use what is normally the (2011-05-25)

Practice, not loss of sight, improves sense of touch in the blind: study
New research from McMaster University may answer a controversial question: do the blind have a better sense of touch because the brain compensates for vision loss or because of heavy reliance on their fingertips? The study, published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests daily dependence on touch is the answer. (2011-05-11)

New study challenges 'critical period' in childhood vision development
Early sensory stimulation may not be required for vision development. (2007-01-04)

UBC study of Olympic athletes shows that pride and shame are universal and innate expressions
The victory stance of a gold medalist and the slumped shoulders of a nonfinalist are innate and biological rather than learned responses to success and failure, according to a University of British Columbia study using cross-cultural data gathered at the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (2008-08-11)

Neuropsychologist proves that some blind people 'see' with their ears
Dr. Olivier Collignon of the University of Montreal's Saint-Justine Hospital Research Centre compared the brain activity of people who can see and people who were born blind, and discovered that the part of the brain that normally works with our eyes to process vision and space perception can actually rewire itself to process sound information instead. (2011-03-16)

BNI study reveal unexpected findings
Research on a deadly form of brain cancer co-authored by a physician at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The three-year research project led locally by David Brachman, M.D., revealed that a 'promising' drug therapy failed to improve survival among patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. (2014-02-28)

Tool manipulation is represented similarly in the brains of the blind and the sighted
Blind people think about manipulating tools in the same regions of the brain as do people who can see, according to a new study. The researchers say this adds to evidence that the brain has a fairly defined organization, while still being able to adapt to unusual conditions, such as not having any vision. (2010-06-23)

A stunning new look at déjà vu
A blind man suffering déjà vu. It sounds like a contradiction in terms -- but the first case study of its kind has turned the whole theory of déjà vu on its head. (2006-11-28)

Prototype system developed by Wright State computer engineer allows blind to 'see'
Researchers at Wright State University have developed a prototype device to help blind individuals (2004-03-18)

2 percent testosterone solution improves sex drive and energy levels in men with hypogonadism
For men with hypogonadism, a condition in which the body does not produce enough testosterone, low sex drive and fatigue are common symptoms. For these men treatment with a 2 percent testosterone solution (T-sol) can be effective therapy. In a six-month open-label study of patients receiving T-sol, published in The Journal of Urology®, researchers noted improvement of low sex drive and low energy symptoms, and did not identify new safety concerns. (2016-08-17)

In lean times, flies can't survive without their sense of smell
Working with fruit flies reared under laboratory conditions, researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Rockefeller University show that in times of plenty, the sense of smell is irrelevant for survival. But when food is scarce, a well functioning nose can mean the difference between life and death. (2008-07-31)

Researchers have used computers to tackle 1 of chemistry's greatest challenges
Researchers have successfully predicted the crystal structures of small organic molecules by computational methods without experimental input. The ability to predict crystal structures could enable the design of materials with superior properties, for example the creation of brighter pigments, more effective pharmaceuticals, or even lower calorie foodstuff. (2015-11-09)

Consumers overpredict the use of holiday gifts
Consumers overpredict how often they'll use the gifts they want for Christmas. Strangers make more accurate predictions of how often a person will use a holiday gift. (2009-12-09)

Brains of blind people adapt to sharpen sense of hearing, study shows
Research from the University of Washington uses functional MRI to identify two differences in the brains of blind individuals -- differences that might be responsible for their abilities to make better use of auditory information. (2019-04-22)

Research provides insights on lethal blindness in a Scottish bird of conservation concern
The Scottish bird population of red-billed choughs, which currently totals less than 60 breeding pairs and is of major conservation concern, is being affected by lethal blindness that is passed on by non-blind individuals that carry a mutant gene (2016-03-21)

U of M study: Health food supplement may curb addiction of pathological gamblers
University of Minnesota researchers have discovered that a common amino acid, available as a health food supplement, may help curb pathological gamblers' addiction. (2007-09-11)

Virtual maps for the blind
Dr. Orly Lahav of Tel Aviv University has invented a new software tool, interfacing with the user through the sense of touch, to help the blind navigate through unfamiliar places. (2009-09-10)

Echolocation acts as substitute sense for blind people
Human echolocation operates as a viable 'sense,' working in tandem with other senses to deliver information to people with visual impairment, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Ironically, the proof for the vision-like qualities of echolocation came from blind echolocators wrongly judging how heavy objects of different sizes felt. (2014-12-23)

Can you see what I hear? Blind human echolocators use visual areas of the brain
Certain blind individuals have the ability to use echoes from tongue or finger clicks to recognize objects in the distance, and use echolocation as a replacement for vision. Research done by Dr. Mel Goodale, from the University of Western Ontario, in Canada, shows echolocation in blind individuals is a full form of sensory substitution, and that blind echolocation experts recruit regions of the brain normally associated with visual perception when making echo-based assessments of objects. (2015-05-24)

By 2020, 76 million worldwide could go blind without prevention
Researchers for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that over 52 million people worldwide can avoid going blind if current and new resources are successfully implemented. Without extra intervention, the global number of blind individuals would increase from 44 million in 2000 to 76 million in 2020. (2003-03-28)

How blind can 'read' shown in Hebrew University research
A method developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for training blind persons to (2012-05-16)

Pharmacy pamphlets apparently more about looks than legibility: study
It seems like common sense that an information leaflet for vision loss would have large print and appropriate contrast, but that's not the case a new study done at the University of Alberta has found. (2009-08-05)

Study finds many people with hemianopia have difficulty detecting pedestrians while driving, advocates for individual testing
Schepens Eye Research Institute scientists have found that -- when tested in a driving simulator -- patients with hemianopia have significantly more difficulty detecting pedestrians than normally sighted people. These results, published in the November 2009 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, fly in the face of some recent on-road studies that have found most people with hemianopia safe to drive. (2009-11-12)

Computer scientist Jeffrey Bigham wins NSF Career Award
Jeffrey Bigham's NSF proposal would enable a dynamic group of people on the Web ( (2012-03-16)

Seeing isn't required to gesture like a native speaker
People the world over gesture when they talk, and they tend to gesture in certain ways depending on the language they speak. Findings from a new study including blind and sighted participants suggest that these gestural variations do not emerge from watching other speakers make the gestures, but from learning the language itself. (2016-03-21)

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