Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Auditory Regions Of Brain Convert To Sense Of Touch, Hearing Loss Study Finds

Date:
March 25, 2009
Source:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that adult animals with hearing loss actually re-route the sense of touch into the hearing parts of the brain.

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers have discovered that adult animals with hearing loss actually re-route the sense of touch into the hearing parts of the brain.

In the study, published online in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of March 23, the team reported a phenomenon known as cross-modal plasticity in the auditory system of adult animals. Cross-modal plasticity refers to the replacement of a damaged sensory system by one of the remaining ones. In this case, the sense of hearing is replaced with touch.

About 15 percent of American adults suffer from some form of hearing impairment, which can significantly impact quality of life, especially in the elderly.

“One often learns, anecdotally, that ‘grandpa’ simply turned off his hearing aid because it was confusing and no longer helped. Our study indicates that hearing deficits in adult animals result in a conversion of their brain’s sound processing centers to respond to another sensory modality, making the interpretation of residual hearing even more difficult,” said principal investigator Alex Meredith, Ph.D., a professor in the VCU Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology.

“Whether this becomes a positive feedback cycle of increasing hearing difficulty is currently under investigation, but these findings raise the possibility that even mild hearing loss in adult humans can have serious and perhaps progressive consequences,” Meredith said.

The findings provide researchers and clinicians with insight into how the adult brain retains the ability to re-wire itself on a large scale, as well as the factors that may complicate treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids or cochlear implants.

The study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Meredith worked with postdoctoral fellows Brian L. Allman and Leslie P. Keniston, both in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Commonwealth University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brian L. Allman, Leslie P. Keniston, and M. Alex Meredith. Adult deafness induces somatosensory conversion of ferret auditory cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0809483106

Cite This Page:

Virginia Commonwealth University. "Auditory Regions Of Brain Convert To Sense Of Touch, Hearing Loss Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090324111600.htm>.
Virginia Commonwealth University. (2009, March 25). Auditory Regions Of Brain Convert To Sense Of Touch, Hearing Loss Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090324111600.htm
Virginia Commonwealth University. "Auditory Regions Of Brain Convert To Sense Of Touch, Hearing Loss Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090324111600.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins