Regions of the brain that mediate our perception of sound are requisitioned
by the visual system in some deaf people, while in the blind redundant
visual areas may be given over to the processing of sound. Powerful brain
images demonstrating this reorganisation were presented yesterday [November
9, 1998] at the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience in Los
They measured brain potentials in the primary auditory cortex, the first
stop for auditory information entering the brain, and found that this area
was also highly active when deaf people performed a visual tracking task.
Moreover, the changes in amplitude of neuronal activity corresponded
directly to whether the stimulus was stationary or in motion.
"I think this is strong evidence that even primary cortical areas whose
functional associations are very strongly biased can be reorganised," said