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Scientists closer to grasping how the brain's 'hearing center' spurs responses to sound
Date:10/18/2010

thin the same column."

Analogously, in the auditory cortex, neurons within a column are expected to be tuned to the same frequency. So the scientists were especially surprised to find that for a given neuron in this region, the dominant input signal didn't come from within its column but from outside it.

"It comes from neurons that we think are tuned to higher frequencies," elaborates Zador. "This is the first example of the neuronal organizing principle not following the columnar pattern, but rather an out-of-column pattern." Discovering this unexpected, out-of-column source of information for a neuron in the auditory complex adds a new twist to their research, which is focused on understanding auditory function in terms of the underlying circuitry and how this is altered in disorders such as autism.

"With this study, we've moved beyond having only a conceptual notion of the functional difference between the two axes by actually finding correlates for this difference at the level of the neuronal microcircuits in this region," he explains.


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Contact: Hema Bashyam
bashyam@cshl.edu
516-367-6822
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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