Vision

Dopamine, the neurotransmitter celebrity chemical du jour in brain stories, gets invoked a lot because it can make a lot of correlations possible - and that means fun for journalists who either want to highlight the ridiculous or scare you

Like guns? Dopamine. Are you a Democrat? Dopamine. But aside from its 'pleasure chemical' designation, dopamine has lots of roles in the brain. So if a man takes antipsychotic medication, he may lactate as a side effect, because those medications focus on dopamine. And if there is an addiction story, dopamine is invoked.


Visually impaired individuals and people with uncorrected refractive error, those who could benefit from glasses to achieve normal vision but don't wear glasses, have a significantly greater risk of diminished balance with their eyes closed on a compliant, foam surface than individuals with normal vision.

The research suggests that vision may play an important role in calibrating the vestibular system, which includes the bones and soft tissue of the inner ear, to help optimize physical balance. The work provides direction for more targeted studies on how poor vision impacts vestibular balance, and how to better develop fall prevention strategies for those with poor vision.


The drug aflibercept, under the trade name Eylea, has been approved in Germany since November 2012 for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

In an early benefit assessment pursuant to the Act on the Reform of the Market for Medicinal Products (AMNOG), the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) examined whether this new drug offers an added benefit over the current standard therapy. Such an added benefit cannot be derived from the dossier, since the manufacturer did not submit data for the comparison, says the advocacy group in Germany.


A new paper suggests women can remember faces better than men, in part because they spend more time studying features - without even knowing it.


Rats move their eyes in opposite directions in both the horizontal and the vertical plane when running around. Each eye moves in a different direction, depending on the change in the animal’s head position,  according to a behavioral tracking study that used miniaturized high-speed cameras.

Like many mammals, rats have their eyes on the sides of their heads. This gives them a very wide visual field, useful for detection of predators. However, three-dimensional vision requires overlap of the visual fields of the two eyes. Thus, the visual system of these animals needs to meet two conflicting demands at the same time; on the one hand maximum surveillance and on the other hand detailed binocular vision.

How do we often find something tiny in a large area? 

When our brains begin a targeted search, various visual and non-visual regions of the brain mobilize to track down that person, animal or thing. That means that if we're looking for a youngster lost in a crowd, the brain areas usually dedicated to recognizing other objects, or even the areas attuned to abstract thought, shift their focus and join the search party. The brain rapidly becomes highly focused child-finder, and redirects resources it uses for other mental tasks.


Are the eyes more accurate than the nose and tongue in determining the taste of food? 

Some people can actually see the flavor of foods, and the eyes have such a powerful role that they can even trump the tongue and the nose. The popular Sauvignon Blanc white wine, for instance, gets its flavor from scores of natural chemicals, including chemicals with the flavor of banana, passion fruit, bell pepper and boxwood. But when served a glass of Sauvignon Blanc tinted to the deep red of Merlot or Cabernet, people taste the natural chemicals that give rise to the flavors of those wines.


How does the human brain 'decodes' letters on a page to read a word?

Psychologists are trying to help neuroscientists unravel the subtle thinking mechanisms involved in reading, which could provide solutions for helping people who find it difficult to read, like dyslexics.

In order to read successfully, readers need not only to identify the letters in words, but also to accurately code the positions of those letters, so that they can distinguish words like CAT and ACT. At the same time, however, it's clear that raeders can dael wtih wodrs in wihch not all teh leettrs aer in thier corerct psotiions.


Like the term 'junk DNA', the idea of 'primitive' reflexes is contextually confusing to some people outside biology. In reality, after millions of years of evolution, even a primitive reflex is sophisticated. 


Researchers have discovered 24 new genes that cause refractive errors and myopia, commonly known as short-sightedness.