Wednesday, 04.03.2020 – People Born Blind Seem To Be Protected From Schizophrenia

Link of the day: People Born Blind Are Mysteriously Protected From Schizophrenia

These findings suggest that something about congenital blindness may protect a person from schizophrenia. This is especially surprising, since congenital blindness often results from infections, brain trauma, or genetic mutation—all factors that are independently associated with greater risk of psychotic disorders.

More strangely, vision loss at other periods of life is associated with higher risks of schizophrenia and psychotic symptoms. Even in healthy people, blocking vision for just a few days can bring about hallucinations.

I haven’t looked much into the science behind it, but on first glance this looks really interesting. I especially liked the parts where they explain how congenital blind people and people with schizophrenia seem to lie on opposite ends of a spectrum, with sighted ones often in the middle:

People with schizophrenia have been shown to have problems with selective attention, Silverstein said, and meanwhile people who were born blind are better at this task than sighted people. When compared to sighted people, congenitally blind people are also better at hearing different pitches, telling pitches apart, and telling where sounds come from. People with schizophrenia are the opposite: They usually have difficulty with listening accuracy, and process speech abnormally.

Blind people are better than sighted ones on reaction time to both sound and touch; schizophrenia patients show deficits in these areas. Blind people have better working memories, and people with schizophrenia can have impairments in memory.

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