Navigation Links
CSHL scientists make progress in determining how the brain selectively interprets sound
Date:1/29/2008

Cold Spring Harbor, NY Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have reported new findings about how the mammalian brain interprets and fashions representations of sound that may help explain how we are able to focus on one particular sound among many in noisy environments such as offices or cocktail parties.

Neurons in the brains auditory cortex interpret incoming sound signals and send them to the rest of the nervous system, in the brain and spinal cord. Using rats, the CSHL team discovered that a very small minority of available auditory neurons react strongly when exposed to any specific sound.

This finding challenges the standard model of sound representations in the auditory cortex, which predicts that neural representations of stimuli often engage a large fraction of neurons, said Anthony Zador, Ph.D., CSHL professor and corresponding author of a research paper published today in the journal Public Library of Science: Biology.

The researchers used a new technique called in vivo cell-attached patch clamp recording which measures the reaction of individual neurons. This recording technique samples neurons in a fair and unbiased way, unlike traditional approaches, which favored the largest and most active neurons. Using this technique, the team found that only 5% of neurons in the auditory cortex had a high firing rate when receiving a range of sounds of varying length, frequency, and volume. The experiment included white noise and natural animal sounds.

The teams objective was to quantify the relative contributions of different sub-populations of neurons in response to the range of sounds. Most of what is known about the auditory cortex of the mammalian brain comes from studies of the anesthetized cortex. The results of the experiments reported today are important partly because they measure the response of neurons in rats that were not anesthetized. In animals that are awake, its possible to measure the response over an interval of time to one sound among many that are co-occurring.

This is the approach the Zador lab has taken to explain selective attention, or what Dr. Zador calls the cocktail party problem. Half of the neurons measured in the reported experiments showed no reaction at all to incoming stimuli. The researchers hypothesize that each neuron in the auditory cortex may have an optimal stimulus to which it is particularly sensitized.

Your entire sensory apparatus is there to make successful representations of the outside world, said Dr. Zador, who is director of the CSHL Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience. Sparse representations may make sensory stimuli easier to recognize and remember. Recognizing the brains ability to distinguish optimal stimuli could help scientists find ways to improve how sounds are learned. Prior research has already yielded similar results when measuring sight, movement, and smell. This is the first evidence of a correlation between sparse representations and hearing.

The goal of sensory processing is to take a signal, like a sound or a vision, from your environment and use it to drive behavior, said Dr. Zador. The brain needs to recognize and learn about these inputs in order to survive.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Bono
bono@cshl.edu
516-367-8455
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. New prion protein discovered by Canadian scientists may offer insight into mad cow disease
2. Scientists Probe Sepsis Deadly Secrets
3. Scientists puzzled by severe allergic reaction to cancer drug in the middle Southern US
4. Scientists Develop Natural Protection for Stored Foods
5. Scientists detect presence of marburg virus in african fruit bats
6. Scientists Spot Brains Free Will Center
7. Scientists ID Likely Culprit in Popcorn Lung
8. Scientists explain how insulin secreting cells maintain their glucose sensitivity
9. Scripps Research scientists shed new light on how antibodies fight HIV
10. Scientists, physicians present latest findings in personalized cancer treatment and prevention
11. Scientists demonstate link between genetic variant and effectiveness of smoking cessation meds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:7/25/2017)... ... July 25, 2017 , ... ... provider in the United States, today announced its partnership with financial technology company, ... , The foundation of the solution lies within Hyosung’s superior ATMs, assisted self-service ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... , ... July 24, 2017 , ... Engineers at the ... because it produces the same kind of electrical energy that the body uses. ... of moving electrons. This flow of electrons out of the battery is generated by ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... , ... July 24, 2017 , ... ... federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) State Targeted Response to ... Department of Health Care Services, will facilitate the development of a hub and ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Every year, thousands of dedicated Higher Education and K12 professionals ... is coupled with a dynamic theme like Camp Canvas; this year, they’ve managed to ... , To extend their partnership with Canvas beyond the LMS integration, Modo Labs ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... Solana Beach, California (PRWEB) , ... July 24, ... ... and commercialization of autologous fat (adipose) transfer systems announces the issuance of United ... (the ‘324 patent) for its adipose filtration technology. The '398 and '324 ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/24/2017)... 24, 2017 IBM (NYSE: IBM ) has ... for Solid-State Arrays (SSA) for the fourth year in a ... to Gartner, "Vendors in the Leaders quadrant have the highest ... A vendor in the Leaders quadrant has the market share, ... acceptance of new technologies. These vendors demonstrate a clear understanding ...
(Date:7/21/2017)... Did you know that PhRMA member companies invested $65.5 ... spending on brand medicines, generics and the supply chain account for ... just half of this (7 percent)? Or that the ... venture capital investments in high-growth biopharmaceutical startups? ... The biopharmaceutical ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... 14, 2017 Endo International plc (NASDAQ: ENDP ... 8, 2017.  Members of its senior management team will host a ... 8:30 a.m. ET. The dial-in number to access ... (678) 509-7598, and the passcode is 45397076. Please dial in 10 ... A replay of the call will be available ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: