Thursday, June 27, 2013

Worst Noises in the World

The worst noises in the world: Why we recoil at unpleasant sounds

In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience and funded by the Wellcome Trust, Newcastle University scientists reveal the interaction between the region of the brain that processes sound, the auditory cortex, and the amygdala, which is active in the processing of negative emotions when we hear unpleasant sounds.
Brain imaging has shown that when we hear an unpleasant noise the amygdala modulates the response of the auditory cortex heightening activity and provoking our negative reaction.
"It appears there is something very primitive kicking in," says Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, the paper's author from Newcastle University. "It's a possible distress signal from the amygdala to the auditory cortex."
Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL and Newcastle University used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine how the brains of 13 volunteers responded to a range of sounds. Listening to the noises inside the scanner they rated them from the most unpleasant - the sound of knife on a bottle – to pleasing - bubbling water. Researchers were then able to study the brain response to each type of sound.
Professor Tim Griffiths from Newcastle University, who led the study, says: "This work sheds new light on the interaction of the amygdala and the auditory cortex. This might be a new inroad into emotional disorders and disorders like tinnitus and migraine in which there seems to be heightened perception of the unpleasant aspects of sounds."

Rating 74 sounds, people found the most unpleasant noises to be:
1. Knife on a bottle
2. Fork on a glass
3. Chalk on a blackboard
4. Ruler on a bottle
5. Nails on a blackboard
6. Female scream
7. Anglegrinder
8. Brakes on a cycle squealing
9. Baby crying
10. Electric drill

1. Applause
2. Baby laughing
3. Thunder

4. Water flowing

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Students with hearing loss face educational barriers

American deaf and hard of hearing K-12 students face major barriers and challenges while trying to get an education, says a new report by the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University

The five barriers identified were: 

1.A lack of knowledge about hearing loss among professionals, caregivers and the public

2.A lack of collaboration between these groups

3.Unqualified professionals and service providers

4.A lack of accommodation in the school system

5.Not enough focus on the child's self-development

read more here:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Major psychiatric disorders share common genetic risk factors

For the first time, scientists have discovered that five major psychiatric disorders—autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia—share several common genetic risk factors.  In particular, variations in two genes involved in the balance of calcium in brain cells are implicated in several of these disorders and could be a target for new treatments. The findings from the largest ever genetic study of psychiatric illness, published Online First in The Lancet, may help to one day reclassify these disorders on the basis of causes rather than descriptive syndromes.
According to Smoller, “Significant progress has been made in understanding the genetic risk factors underlying psychiatric disorders. Our results provide new evidence that may inform a move beyond descriptive syndromes in psychiatry and towards classification based on underlying causes. These findings are particularly relevant in view of the imminent revision of classifications in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).”*
Writing in a linked Comment, Alessandro Serretti and Chiara Fabbri from the University of Bologna in Italy say, “the present study might contribute to future nosographic [classification] systems, which could be based not only on statistically determined clinical categories, but also on biological pathogenic factors that are pivotal to the identification of suitable treatments.”
They add, “genetics…can contribute to prediction and prevention of psychiatric diseases, along with the identification of molecular targets for new generations of psychotropic drugs.”

Read full story here: