Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine Science

Research Shows How Deaf Cats' Brains Re-Purpose Auditory Centers 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the heard-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Deaf or blind people often report enhanced abilities in their remaining senses, but up until now, no one has explained how and why that could be. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario, led by Stephen Lomber of The Centre for Brain and Mind, have discovered there is a causal link between enhanced visual abilities and reorganization of the part of the brain that usually handles auditory input in congenitally deaf cats. The findings, published online in Nature Neuroscience, provide insight into the plasticity that may occur in the brains of deaf people."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Research Shows How Deaf Cats' Brains Re-Purpose Auditory Centers

Comments Filter:
  • that's not nice (Score:2, Informative)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Monday October 11, 2010 @03:52PM (#33863062) Homepage

    the plasticity that may occur in the brains of deaf people

    Saying that deaf people have plastic brains is just plain rude! ;)

  • Re:that's not nice (Score:5, Informative)

    by guruevi (827432) <eviNO@SPAMsmokingcube.be> on Monday October 11, 2010 @04:00PM (#33863128) Homepage

    Everybody has very plastic brains. I know you meant it as a joke but brain damage usually gets routed around by the body even relocating whole centers to a different part of the brain. This research is just showing that just like brain damage, the body tries to route around the no-input problem from one organ and enhances others to compensate.

    The brain is like a really small Internet. It routes around problems and has plenty of failover, fallbacks and backups for just about any 'site'.

  • Re:My cat isn't deaf (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 11, 2010 @04:10PM (#33863208)

    Cats have much, much better hearing and smell than we do. Human hearing tops out around 20kHz, cats above 60kHz.

  • Re:God's no dummy (Score:2, Informative)

    by poopdeville (841677) on Monday October 11, 2010 @04:37PM (#33863426)

    That's not right. The god's name is Yahweh. We capitalize its title because we capitalize ALL of its titles and pronouns. And He said, "Let there be light", for example.

  • Re:My cat isn't deaf (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday October 11, 2010 @04:53PM (#33863530)

    Use a can of food he wouldn't eat, or something that's not even food,

    Bingo. My cat would come running everytime I used the can opener, regardless of what can.
    Also, if I ran the stereo really loud in the room he was in, he would not react to the can opener in the kitchen.

  • There are deaf dogs (Score:4, Informative)

    by mrstrano (1381875) on Monday October 11, 2010 @05:29PM (#33863836) Homepage

    Cats are the only animal besides humans that can be born deaf.

    found this in two seconds

    http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1630&aid=857 [peteducation.com]

  • Up Until Now? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday October 11, 2010 @06:26PM (#33864356) Homepage Journal

    "Deaf or blind people often report enhanced abilities in their remaining senses, but up until now, no one has explained how and why that could be."

    Up until now? Pfft.

    There's been a lot of experiments done on the brain repurposing unused areas of the brain. For example, a school of the blind in France requires all of their teachers to spend some period of time living in perfect darkness inside a house so that they can better appreciate what their students are going through. Teachers that go through the program report being able to 'see sound', which is basically the result of their visual cortex being repurposed to process audio input, but which the brain is still taking as input into whatever it is that creates our visual senses in our sensorium.

    Likewise, when they leave the darkness, they have a really hard time seeing for a few days, as the brain slowly adjusts back to using the visual cortex for what it was intended for.

    I'd really recommend Dioge's book, The Brain that Changes Itself. It's a good summary of brain plasticity.

  • by ciroknight (601098) on Monday October 11, 2010 @07:52PM (#33865032)
    If you had read your own link, you'd realize that it in no way invalidates the assertion that cats and humans are the only animals born deaf. It simply states that pearl-coated dogs are likely to inherit a degenerative neural disease which kills the auditory neurons during their lifetime; they are born with fully-to-partially functional hearing.

    Still, it seems incredibly unlikely that only humans and cats are born deaf.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

Working...