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Brain Controls Sight

A research team, led by WANG Shurong, a research fellow at Institute of Biophysics under Chinese Academy of Sciences, has discovered a corollary discharge circuits for saccadic modulation of the pigeon visual system. Researchers have recorded more than 300 neurons in pigeon's five brain areas, which led them to believe that a saccadic eye movement causes a variety of transient perceptual sequelae that might be the results of corollary discharge. Saccade-related omnipause neurons in the brainstem raphe complex inhibited the nBOR and excited the nLM, whereas inactivation of raphe neurons eliminated saccadic responses in both optokinetic and thalamic neurons. It seems that saccadic responses in telencephalic neurons are generated by corollary discharge signals from brainstem neurons that are transmitted through optokinetic and thalamic neurons. These signals might have important roles in visual perception. Experts believe that the discovery is of a universal importance, as pigeon has a visual system similar to that of humans and other mammals. The discovery could be an explanation to why one always has a clear and steady view of external world, even with a quick movement of eyes. The finding was published on April 6, 2008 in the online issue of Nature Neuroscience.

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