London, Jan. 30 (Reuters): Scientists have discovered how the brain perceives colour in a finding that could one day help people who have lost their sight.
By studying macaque monkeys, researchers at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School have shown how modules of cells called “thin stripes” in a particular region of the brain are arranged and perceive colours.
Daniel Felleman, a professor of neurobiology and anatomy, and his team mapped changes in blood flow along the stripes in the brains of the monkeys while showing them a series of colour. Their findings are reported in the science journal Nature.
While looking at different colours the blood flow peaks in the brains of the monkeys shifted systematically in specific portions of the stripes. An area with a peak flow for red was next to the portion that peaked for orange, then yellow etc.
Although the research was done in macaques, the scientists believe mechanisms in the human brain would work in a similar way and the knowledge could be used to to help the blind.