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Vision Loss

Insight into the long lasting effects of injury to the brain's visual cortex

28 January 2022

Vision Loss

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are unfortunately quite common in humans. Mild cases may only affect your brain temporarily, but other more serious cases can cause long-term complications. TBI can often lead to long-lasting visual impairments like an inability to define shapes, a misalignment of the images that our brain processes from our eyes or a loss of spatial awareness. But why TBI causes these symptoms wasn’t clear until now. Researchers studied mice who had suffered a brain injury (damaged area shown in pink in these brain slices) and discovered that while the primary visual cortex, the region of the brain that processes visual cues, remained intact; there was a significant loss of neurons that were able to relay that information from the eye to the brain. Moreover, this ‘single blow’ appeared to cause permanent damage, but this knowledge is helpful to develop future therapy options including neuron transplantation.

Written by Sophie Arthur

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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