A Woman Who Cannot See Faces

By Anupum Pant

The brain is a powerful piece of mushy mass and it works in mysterious ways. Not until very recently, thanks to a woman suffering from an unfortunate condition, we have figured a new way the human brain pays games.

A woman named Milena Channing could see like everybody else. But then, at the age of 29 she suffered from a stroke that damaged her visual cortex – the part of a person’s brain which is responsible for processing whatever information the eyes send it.

When she woke up in the hospital, everything had gone dark. Very slowly she began realizing that she could see ghostly figures in the air. Then when she heard the rain falling, she could actually see the rain, and nothing else. Then she noticed she could see the steam rising from a hot cup of coffee, and other things which moved, but nothing else.

Doctors figured that these things she was seeing were only hallucination. It was only later when she visited a group of neuroscientists in Canada, she found out what really was happening. They explained that only the part of her brain which was responsible for detecting motion was getting fed information from the eye and she was able to see just the motion – as if stationary things didn’t exist!

The sad part is that the part of her brain which is responsible to process slightly complex imagery like faces was damaged. So she can’t see faces. But she can see her daughter move around. Call it a curse, or a blessing.

via [NPR]

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