ophthalmology

The researches find that the Consider learning a musical instrument; for example: the more one practices, the better one will be able to learn to play. The same holds true for cognition and visual perception: with practice; a person can learn to see better and this is the case for both healthy adults and patients who experience vision loss because of a traumatic brain injury or stroke.he problem with learning, however, is that it often takes a lot of training.

Learning a music

Finding the time can be especially difficult for patients with brain injuries who may; for instance, need to re-train their brains to learn to process visual cues. That’s what an international collaboration of researchers set out to determine. Teams members included University of Rochester researchers Duje Tadin, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences; and Krystel Huxlin.

The James V. Aquavella, M.D. Professor in Ophthalmology at the University’s Flaum Eye Institute; and Lorella Battelli, group leader at the Italian Institute of Technology and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.  Motivated by emerging evidence that brain stimulation might aid learning; Tadin and Huxlin collaborated with researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology to study how different types of non-invasive brain stimulation affect visual perceptual learning and retention in both healthy individuals and those with brain damage.

Institute of Technology

Their results, published in a paper in the Journal of Neuroscience; could lead to enhanced learning efficacy for both populations and improved vision recovery for cortically blind patients. Learning is difficult and often takes a long time; Tadin says, “because after early childhood our brains become less plastic.” The brain’s ability to change and reorganize itself decreases as a person ages, so learning new tasks, or re-learning tasks after experiencing a brain injury, becomes more challenging.

To test if and how visual perceptual learning might be accelerated, researchers presented study participants with a computer-based task. Participants are shows clouds of dots and are ask to determine which way the dots moved across the computer screen. The task measured the participants’ motion integration threshold; motion perception is important in enabling people to see movement and to avoid or interact with moving objects.

Presented study participants

Participants were then asked to perform the task while sub-groups were given different types of brain stimulations, each involving a non-invasive electrical current applied over the visual cortex. The researchers found that one particular type of stimulation, called transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS), had remarkable effects on improving participants’ motion integration thresholds when they performed the task.