Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

For hearing parts of brain, deafness reorganizes sensory inputs, not behavioral function

Date:
May 15, 2011
Source:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Summary:
The part of the brain that uses hearing to determine sound location is reorganized in deaf animals to locate visual targets, according to a new study.

The part of the brain that uses hearing to determine sound location is reorganized in deaf animals to locate visual targets, according to a new study by a team of researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

Related Articles


These findings propose a new theory for cross-modal plasticity: loss of one sensory modality is substituted by another while maintaining the original function of the brain region.

It is known that persons who have suffered major sensory loss, such as deafness, show compensatory, or even superior performance in the remaining senses. This occurs through a process of cross-modal plasticity, where loss of one sensory modality is replaced by the remaining senses. But researchers have not known how the brain region vacated by one sensory modality selects its sensory replacement -- until now.

In a study, published online the week of May 9 in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team first examined the region of auditory cortex in hearing adult animals that responded to auditory stimuli and controlled orienting and localization behaviors in response to sounds.

"However, in deaf animals, that same cortical region responded to visual stimuli yet still controlled orienting and localization behaviors, thus preserving the functional role of the region despite the loss of its original sensory inputs," said principal investigator Alex Meredith, Ph.D., professor in the VCU Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology in the VCU School of Medicine.

According to Meredith, this research provides insight into brain reorganization following sensory loss, which may help researchers better understand how rehabilitative medicine, such as cochlear implants, may function more effectively in deaf patients.

These findings build on research published last year in the journal Nature Neuroscience by Meredith and colleagues from the University of Western Ontario. That research examined the brain regions in congenitally deaf adult animals responsible for cross-modal plasticity. Those results showed that cross-modal plasticity does not randomly distribute across the areas of the brain vacated by the lost sensory modality, but demonstrated that cross-modal plasticity takes up residence in selected areas. The present study indicates that brain areas exhibiting cross-modal plasticity retain their original behavioral function.

Meredith collaborated with researchers in the laboratory of Stephen G. Lomber, Ph.D., with the Centre for Brain and Mind in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and the Department of Psychology at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Jeffress Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


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. M. A. Meredith, J. Kryklywy, A. J. McMillan, S. Malhotra, R. Lum-Tai, S. G. Lomber. Crossmodal reorganization in the early deaf switches sensory, but not behavioral roles of auditory cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1018519108

Cite This Page:

Virginia Commonwealth University. "For hearing parts of brain, deafness reorganizes sensory inputs, not behavioral function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110510175204.htm>.
Virginia Commonwealth University. (2011, May 15). For hearing parts of brain, deafness reorganizes sensory inputs, not behavioral function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110510175204.htm
Virginia Commonwealth University. "For hearing parts of brain, deafness reorganizes sensory inputs, not behavioral function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110510175204.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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