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Mon Jun 22, 2020, 04:05 PM

This man can't see numbers. But his brain can.


By Yasemin Saplakoglu - Staff Writer an hour ago

He can see "0" and "1," but other numbers look to him like a bowl of spaghetti.



When shown a number "8," RFS saw a bunch of curvy lines.
(Image: Johns Hopkins University)

A man held up a big foam number "8" on its side like an infinity sign and said the object, with its two loops, looked like a mask to him. But when he turned the foam number upright, the object dematerialized into a jumble of lines.

"He described it as being the strangest thing he's ever seen," said David Rothlein, a postdoctoral researcher and cognitive scientist at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. This man, referred to by his initials RFS, has a rare degenerative brain condition that does not allow him to "see" numbers on paper, as objects or even those secretly embedded in scenes.

There are exceptions: While the numbers 2 through 9 look like a scramble of meaningless curves to him, he has no problem seeing the number "0" and the number "1," according to a new case report on which Rothlein is a co-author. RFS' case is more evidence that even in healthy brains, we aren't always aware of what we see.

In 2010, RFS suffered from a sudden event in which he developed a headache, trouble with understanding and expressing speech, amnesia and temporary vision loss. A couple of months later, he started having difficulty walking, involuntary muscle spasms and a tremor and his motor symptoms worsened as the years went on.

More:
https://www.livescience.com/nueroscience-patient-who-can-not-see-numbers.html

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Reply This man can't see numbers. But his brain can. (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jun 22 OP
soothsayer Jun 22 #1
tblue37 Jun 22 #2
Karadeniz Jun 22 #3
Journeyman Jun 22 #4
Igel Jun 22 #5

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 04:20 PM

1. Fascinating

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 04:26 PM

2. Reminds me of Oliver Sacks' books & essays. nt

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 04:37 PM

3. Another thing I hope to never get!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 05:05 PM

4. Interesting he'd see a mask when 8 was on its side, but not a snowman when it was erect . . .

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Response to Journeyman (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 06:57 PM

5. The brain's architecture and organization...

is befuddling.

Worse yet, while there are generalities that hold for most people, there's always some variation and some people are real outliers.

Not a field I'd want to work in.

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