Our brain is an intricate network of hundreds of billions of neurons, and anything that interrupts this network, such as abnormal brain development or a stroke, can cause severe disorders, including epilepsy, depression, anxiety, visual impairment, chronic pain and paralysis.
Stimulating brain tissue alters the way neurons fire and helps the brain form neural connections. Norcia’s research focuses on applying the method to cases of visual impairment, such as amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eyes), and on better understanding phenomena like binocular rivalry, which describes the fact that when presented with two different images at the same time, we can only be aware of one at a time.
Norcia’s group develops models that describe how electrical activity from the brain’s visual centers radiates to the scalp, where it can be picked up and measured by an EEG. They also develop models for delivering electrical pulses to specific locations in the brain, where they alter brain function associated with vision.
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