Visual Hallucinations and Migraine Auras

Feb 3, 2023

Visual hallucinations are a fascinating phenomenon that affects almost every human being. Despite their prevalence, the scientific community has yet to fully understand how they are generated in the brain. In this blog post, we will delve into the latest research on the topic, specifically exploring the mathematical models that have been developed over the last 40 years to explain how these hallucinations come about.

For those who may not be familiar, elementary visual hallucinations are geometric patterns that move with the eyes. They can be triggered by a variety of factors, including migraines, drugs, sleep deprivation, and more. These hallucinations have been the subject of much study and speculation over the years, but it wasn’t until recently that researchers were able to develop a comprehensive understanding of how they are generated in the brain.

The key to this understanding lies in the circuitry and dynamics of the visual cortex. Recent studies have revealed that the cortex generates patterns of neural activity that can be seen as hallucinations in the visual field. This is achieved through the Turing mechanism for pattern formation, which generates patterns of activity in the cortex that are then interpreted by the brain as visual stimuli.

This new understanding of visual hallucinations provides an alternative to the standard way of studying vision, which has historically relied on external stimuli. Instead, this approach focuses on the geometric patterns generated by internal changes in the stability of cortical activity. The theory suggests that the four classes of patterns seen as hallucinations are formed in the visual cortex as a consequence of the way it is wired.

One of the most interesting aspects of this theory is its ability to replicate the patterns seen in migraine auras. Migraines are often accompanied by visual disturbances, including flashing lights, zigzag patterns, and more. The theory of visual hallucinations generated by the Turing mechanism provides a scientific explanation for these symptoms, suggesting that they are a result of changes in the stability of neural activity in the visual cortex.

In conclusion, the recent developments in the understanding of visual hallucinations have provided valuable insights into how our brain generates visual stimuli. By using mathematical models to explain the underlying mechanics, researchers have opened up a new avenue of exploration into the mysteries of the brain and vision. The theory of visual hallucinations generated by the Turing mechanism is a fascinating and promising area of research that will likely continue to evolve and expand in the coming years.