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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Blind Man Walking

from Nature News

A man with brain damage that makes him clinically blind can navigate an obstacle course, seemingly by using a primitive part of his brain to perceive the objects in his path. This remarkable ability, discovered through a chance observation, is shedding light on a curious phenomenon known as blindsight.

The man, known as patient TN, was studied by a multinational team led by Beatrice de Gelder at Tilburg University in The Netherlands and Alan Pegna of the Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland.

The researchers tested TN extensively to confirm that he was completely blind. They used brain imaging to show that there was no activity in his visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes most of the information coming from the retina. They then persuaded TN to set his stick aside and walk down a corridor strewn with lab equipment.

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