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Retraining the brain using virtual reality may improve the quality of life of visually impaired individuals

Air Date: December 7, 2022 | Length: 41:54 | Download the transcript 



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Dr. Michael Reber

Episode Description

Michael Reber at a triathlon  

Restoring vision for the visually impaired has been a dream of scientists and clinicians for centuries. Neurodegenerative eye diseases like glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration affect visual information processing. But the visual system in humans is smart – it can compensate for a loss in connectivity caused by disease.

Dr. Michael Reber's research looks at analyzing visual networks to identify the molecular mechanisms leading to compensation and adaptation. In humans, stimuli in the peripheral visual field can be improved through cognitive training. Training the ability to detect new visual stimuli using virtual reality can improve behavioural responses in patients suffering from neurodegenerative eye diseases and brain injury.

The potential for virtual reality cognitive retraining may improve the quality of life in visually impaired individuals. These retraining devices are effortlessly portable; therefore, protocols can be completed from the comfort of someone's home.

About Dr. Michael Reber

Michael Reber obtained his PhD in Human Genetics from University Diderot, Paris (FR) and moved to The Salk Institute in San Diego, CA as a research associate to study neuroscience in Lemke's lab.

Since then, he has been focusing on the development of the visual system, particularly the formation of the network between the eye and the brain in normal and diseased eye conditions.

He obtained a position as a scientist/professor at the Institute for Health and Biomedical Research in Strasbourg, France. In 2018, he joined the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute at the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network in Toronto to pursue his work on visual network formation and function.

Want to learn more about Dr. Reber and his work?

Produced by: Twayne Pereira | Host: Christian Coté | Sound Engineer: 217 Audio