Rewired visual input to sound-processing part of the brain leads to compromised hearing
Scientists at Georgia State University have found that the ability to hear is lessened when, as a result of injury, a region of the brain responsible for processing sounds receives both visual and auditory inputs.
Yu-Ting Mao, a former graduate student under Sarah L. Pallas, professor of neuroscience, explored how the brain's ability to change, or neuroplasticity, affected the brain's ability to process sounds when both visual and auditory information is sent to the auditory thalamus.
The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The auditory thalamus is the region of the brain responsible for carrying sound information to the auditory cortex, where sound is processed in detail.
When a person or animal loses input from one of the senses, such as hearing, the region of the brain that processes that information does not become inactive, but instead gets rewired with input from other sensory systems.
In the case of this study, early brain injury resulted in visual inputs into the auditory thalamus, which altered how the auditory cortex processes sounds.
The cortical "map" for discriminating different sound frequencies was significantly disrupted, she explained.
"One of the possible reasons the sound frequency map is so disrupted is that visual responsive neurons are sprinkled here and there, and we also have a lot of single neurons that respond to both light and sound," Pallas said. "So those strange neurons sprinkled there probably keeps the map from forming properly."
Mao also discovered reduced sensitivity and slower responses of neurons in the auditory cortex to sound.
Finally, the neurons in the auditory cortex were less sharply tuned to different frequencies of sound.
"Generally, individual neurons will be pretty sensitive to one sound frequency that we call their 'best frequency,'" Pallas said. "We found that they would respond to a broader range of frequencies after the rewiring with visual inputs."
While Pallas' research seeks to create a basic understanding of brain development, knowledge gained from her lab's studies may help to give persons who are deaf, blind, or have suffered brain injuries ways to keep visual and auditory functions from being compromised.
"Usually we think of plasticity as a good thing, but in this case, it's a bad thing," she said. "We would like to limit the plasticity so that we can keep the function that's supposed to be there."
More information: The study is "Compromise of Auditory Cortical Tuning and Topography after Cross-Modal Invasion by Visual Inputs," Mao, Y. and Pallas, S. L., Journal of Neuroscience, 32(30):10338-10351.
Journal reference: Journal of Neuroscience
Provided by Georgia State University
- Lend me your ears -- and the world will sound very different Jan 14, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists closer to grasping how the brain's 'hearing center' spurs responses to sound Oct 18, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- A good ear: Rats identify specific sounds in noisy environments Nov 18, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Unraveling the mysteries of the maternal brain: Odors influence the response to sounds Oct 19, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists make progress in determining how the brain selectively interprets sound Jan 29, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
Neuroscience May 18, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Neurological disorders can have a devastating impact on the lives of sufferers and their families.
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
If you're a left-brain thinker, chances are you use your right hand to hold your cell phone up to your right ear, according to a newly published study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Neuroscience May 16, 2013 | 2 / 5 (2) | 0 |
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
54 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, ...
54 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two.
4 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The devastating effect of Alzheimer's disease on bilingual people has been thrown into focus in Canada, where the sudden loss of a second language can leave sufferers feeling like strangers in their own country.
2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, Mayo Clinic research shows. The findings were being presented at the Digestive Disease ...
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |