How being blind from an early age can have advantages.

Ever wonder whether being blind was in some way an advantage for pianists like Ray Charles, George Shearing, Art Tatum, and Stevie Wonder? New research published in the journal PLOS ONE finds that the brains of people blind from a young age are dramatically different than the brains of normally sighted people—showing increased connectivity in areas that deal with touch, hearing, smell, and even memory and language processing. The study was small (12 subjects who were blind before age 3) and needs to be replicated, but researchers say the differences caught by MRI highlight how flexible the human brain is as it compensates for the absence of visual feedback.

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