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Auditory Cortex

Auditory Cortex

Post-Menopausal Hormonal Changes and Processing of Auditory Information

Could the hormonal changes associated with menopause affect a woman’s ability to process auditory information?

Trott et al (2019) compared performance on tests of central auditory function between 14 pre-menopausal women (mean age = 30 years) and 14 peri- or post-menopausal women (mean age = 54 years). All subject had pure-tone hearing thresholds of 25 dB HL or better at 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz in both of the ears.

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“Sound” Approach to Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s patients can present with impairments in brain waves, specifically in gamma-frequency oscillations in the range of 25–80 Hz, that are important for attention, perception, and memory.

In 2016, Iaccarino et al demonstrated that visual stimuli presented at 40 Hz, but not other frequencies reduced levels of beta-amyloid plaques in mice; beta-amyloid plaques are a pathogenic marker for Alzheimer Disease. However, the results were limited to the visual cortex.

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The Bench-to-Bedside Approach for Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Academy Editor-in-Chief Erin Schafer, PhD, spoke with Drs. Musiek and Chermak about the diagnosis and treatment of CAPD as well as the Third Global Conference on Central Auditory Processing Disorder: Synergies Between Lab and Clinic, at AAA 2019, March 30, in Columbus, Ohio.

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Are We Breaking the World’s Most Powerful Pair of Glasses?

Have you seen the movie "Finding Dory"? In one of the many exciting sequences, the protagonist Dory needs the help of Bailey the beluga whale to navigate through a maze of pipes. In a later, and even more exciting sequence, Bailey helps Dory keep track of a moving truck in which Dory's friends Nemo and Merlin inadvertently became captured.

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Microwaves Causing Mega Waves

There is a new twist, or shall we say wave, to the story about American diplomats experiencing a mystery illness in Cuba and China (see our news article on the Cuban Medical Crisis). In the initial investigation of these incidents, some form of sonic attack was suspected. There is now a new hypothesis involving microwaves. Turns out that microwaves have been known to induce sensations of hearing since the 1960s.

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Speech Understanding: Future Predicts the Past

Speech perception is determined by surrounding context. However, this is not necessarily a serial process where the context precedes the speech signal. A study by Gwilliams et al (2018) in the Journal of Neuroscience has demonstrated that the auditory system has postdictive processing capability, in other words subsequent context can bias the perception of the preceding signal.

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The Cuban Medical Crisis

From late 2016 through August 2017, U.S. government personnel serving on diplomatic assignment in Havana, Cuba, reported neurological symptoms associated with exposure to “auditory and sensory phenomena.”  The report of a “sonic attack” was pervasive in the media, despite such a weapon being physically unlikely.  A recent communication published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) provides an overview of findings from 21 individuals exposed to the “auditory and sensory phenomena” including tests of cognitive function, mood, balance, hearing, and vision.

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The Benefits of Singing and Strolling

We’ve heard of whistling while you work, but what about singing while you walk? Preliminary findings from a recent study (Harrison et al, 2017) suggest that those with mild to moderate Parkinson’s  disease may see improvement (i.e., less variability) in their gait if they sing a little tune while they stroll along. While previous research has demonstrated the benefit of “external rhythmic auditory stimuli” has on gait in those with Parkinson’s, this is the first to use a self-mediated approach.

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Neural Circuits and Fear Conditioning

The processing of auditory input involves a complex neural network involving multiple regions of the brain. In particular, the amygdala has been noted as an integrative center in memory, decision making, and emotional response to auditory stimuli.

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