Sensory perception: supernormal hearing in the blind?
A recent experimental study suggests that blind individuals may compensate for their lack of vision with better-than-normal hearing. This provides support for a view dating back to 18th century philosophers, but the data raise as many problems as they solve. (+info)
Comparing in vitro, in situ, and in vivo experimental data in a three-dimensional model of mammalian cochlear mechanics.
Normal mammalian hearing is refined by amplification of the motion of the cochlear partition. This partition, comprising the organ of Corti sandwiched between the basilar and tectorial membranes, contains the outer hair cells that are thought to drive this amplification process. Force generation by outer hair cells has been studied extensively in vitro and in situ, but, to understand cochlear amplification fully, it is necessary to characterize the role played by each of the components of the cochlear partition in vivo. Observations of cochlear partition motion in vivo are severely restricted by its inaccessibility and sensitivity to surgical trauma, so, for the present study, a computer model has been used to simulate the operation of the cochlea under different experimental conditions. In this model, which uniquely retains much of the three-dimensional complexity of the real cochlea, the motions of the basilar and tectorial membranes are fundamentally different during in situ- and in vivo-like conditions. Furthermore, enhanced outer hair cell force generation in vitro leads paradoxically to a decrease in the gain of the cochlear amplifier during sound stimulation to the model in vivo. These results suggest that it is not possible to extrapolate directly from experimental observations made in vitro and in situ to the normal operation of the intact organ in vivo. (+info)
Activation of Heschl's gyrus during auditory hallucinations.
Apart from being a common feature of mental illness, auditory hallucinations provide an intriguing model for the study of internally generated sensory perceptions that are attributed to external sources. Until now, the knowledge about the cortical network that supports such hallucinations has been restricted by methodological limitations. Here, we describe an experiment with paranoid schizophrenic patients whose on- and offset of auditory hallucinations could be monitored within one functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) session. We demonstrate an increase of the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal in Heschl's gyrus during the patients' hallucinations. Our results provide direct evidence of the involvement of primary auditory areas in auditory verbal hallucinations and establish novel constraints for psychopathological models. (+info)
Sequential cycles of high-dose chemotherapy with dose escalation of carboplatin with or without paclitaxel supported by G-CSF mobilized peripheral blood progenitor cells: a phase I/II study in advanced ovarian cancer.
To assess high-dose carboplatin chemotherapy with or without paclitaxel with filgrastim mobilized peripheral blood progenitor cell (PBPC) support in a phase I/II study, a total of 21 patients with mostly chemonaive disease received four cycles of high-dose chemotherapy. Cycle 1 (cyclophosphamide, 6 g/m2) was followed by two cycles of carboplatin (1600 mg/m2 or 1800 mg/m2). Cycle 4 consisted of carboplatin (1600 mg/m2), etoposide (1600 mg/m2), and melphalan (140 mg/m2). Further chemotherapy intensification was achieved by adding paclitaxel (175 mg/m2) to all cycles with a fixed carboplatin dose (1600 mg/m2). Ototoxicity was dose-limiting for escalation of sequential cycles of carboplatin. Grade 2 and grade 3 ototoxicity, hearing loss not requiring a hearing aid, or hearing loss correctable with a hearing aid, was observed with carboplatin at 1800 mg/m2. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of sequential carboplatin, therefore, was identified in this study as 1600 mg/m2. After cycles 1, 2, 3 and 4 the median duration of leukopenia (<1.0x10(9)/l) was 7, 4, 4 and 6 days. Severe grade 3 and 4 infections were seen in only 7% of cycles. Of the 21 patients evaluable for disease response, 57% had complete remissions and 43% experienced partial remissions resulting in an overall response rate of 100%. The median progression-free survival is 25 (15-36) months, the median overall survival 36.5 (15-38) months. Most patients were suboptimally debulked or had bulky residual disease at the start of chemotherapy. Sequential high-dose chemotherapy to a maximum dose of 1600 mg/m2 carboplatin is effective and feasible. A randomized, prospective trial comparing sequential high-dose chemotherapy with optimal standard chemotherapy is now warranted. (+info)
Assessment of hearing in 80 inbred strains of mice by ABR threshold analyses.
The common occurrence of hearing loss in both humans and mice, and the anatomical and functional similarities of their inner ears, attest to the potential of mice being used as models to study inherited hearing loss. A large-scale, auditory screening project is being undertaken at The Jackson Laboratory (TJL) to identify mice with inherited hearing disorders. To assess hearing sensitivity, at least five mice from each inbred strain had auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds determined. Thus far, we have screened 80 inbred strains of mice; 60 of them exhibited homogeneous ABR threshold values not significantly different from those of the control strain CBA/CaJ. This large database establishes a reliable reference for normal hearing mouse strains. The following 16 inbred strains exhibited significantly elevated ABR thresholds before the age of 3 months: 129/J, 129/ReJ, 129/SvJ, A/J, ALR/LtJ, ALS/LtJ, BUB/BnJ, C57BLKS/J, C57BR/cdJ, C57L/J, DBA/2J, I/LnJ, MA/MyJ, NOD/LtJ, NOR/LtJ, and SKH2/J. These hearing impaired strains may serve as models for some forms of human non-syndromic hearing loss and aid in the identification of the underlying genes. (+info)
Intracellular responses of onset chopper neurons in the ventral cochlear nucleus to tones: evidence for dual-component processing.
Intracellular responses of onset chopper neurons in the ventral cochlear nucleus to tones: evidence for dual-component processing. The ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) contains a heterogeneous collection of cell types reflecting the multiple processing tasks undertaken by this nucleus. This in vivo study in the rat used intracellular recordings and dye filling to examine membrane potential changes and firing characteristics of onset chopper (OC) neurons to acoustic stimulation (50 ms pure tones, 5 ms r/f time). Stable impalements were made from 15 OC neurons, 7 identified as multipolar cells. Neurons responded to characteristic frequency (CF) tones with sustained depolarization below spike threshold. With increasing stimulus intensity, the depolarization during the initial 10 ms of the response became peaked, and with further increases in intensity the peak became narrower. Onset spikes were generated during this initial depolarization. Tones presented below CF resulted in a broadening of this initial depolarizing component with high stimulus intensities required to initiate onset spikes. This initial component was followed by a sustained depolarizing component lasting until stimulus cessation. The amplitude of the sustained depolarizing component was greatest when frequencies were presented at high intensities below CF resulting in increased action potential firing during this period when compared with comparable high intensities at CF. During the presentation of tones at or above the high-frequency edge of a cell's response area, hyperpolarization was evident during the sustained component. The presence of hyperpolarization and the differences seen in the level of sustained depolarization during CF and off CF tones suggests that changes in membrane responsiveness between the initial and sustained components may be attributed to polysynaptic inhibitory mechanisms. The dual-component processing resulting from convergent auditory nerve excitation and polysynaptic inhibition enables OC neurons to respond in a unique fashion to intensity and frequency features contained within an acoustic stimulus. (+info)
Supporting cells contribute to control of hearing sensitivity.
The mammalian hearing organ, the organ of Corti, was studied in an in vitro preparation of the guinea pig temporal bone. As in vivo, the hearing organ responded with an electrical potential, the cochlear microphonic potential, when stimulated with a test tone. After exposure to intense sound, the response to the test tone was reduced. The electrical response either recovered within 10-20 min or remained permanently reduced, thus corresponding to a temporary or sustained loss of sensitivity. Using laser scanning confocal microscopy, stimulus-induced changes of the cellular structure of the hearing organ were simultaneously studied. The cells in the organ were labeled with two fluorescent probes, a membrane dye and a cytoplasm dye, showing enzymatic activity in living cells. Confocal microscopy images were collected and compared before and after intense sound exposure. The results were as follows. (1) The organ of Corti could be divided into two different structural entities in terms of their susceptibility to damage: an inner, structurally stable region comprised of the inner hair cell with its supporting cells and the inner and outer pillar cells; and an outer region that exhibited dynamic structural changes and consisted of the outer hair cells and the third Deiters' cell with its attached Hensen's cells. (2) Exposure to intense sound caused the Deiters' cells and Hensen's cells to move in toward the center of the cochlear turn. (3) This event coincided with a reduced sensitivity to the test tone (i.e., reduced cochlear microphonic potential). (4) The displacement and sensitivity loss could be reversible. It is concluded that these observations have relevance for understanding the mechanisms behind hearing loss after noise exposure and that the supporting cells take an active part in protection against trauma during high-intensity sound exposure. (+info)
Tympanal hearing in the sarcophagid parasitoid fly Emblemasoma sp.: the biomechanics of directional hearing.
In Diptera, tympanal hearing has evolved at least twice in flies that belong to two different families, the tachinids and the sarcophagids. Common to these flies is their parasitoid reproductive strategy, both relying on the acoustic detection and localization of their hosts, singing insects, by means of tympanal hearing organs. In the present study, the external anatomy of the unusual hearing organs of the sarcophagid fly Emblemasoma sp. is described. The sarcophagid ears bear numerous anatomical similarities with those of ormiine tachinids: they are located on the ventral prosternum and possess a pair of scolopidial mechanoreceptive sense organs. A striking difference, however, resides in the lack of a well-defined presternum in the sarcophagid tympanal system. Instead, a deep longitudinal fold, the tympanal fold, spans both hemilateral tympanal membranes across the midline of the animal. Measured using laser Doppler vibrometry, the tympanal mechanical response in the sound field reveals asymmetrical deflection shapes that differ from those of tachinids. Lacking a central fulcrum, the sarcophagid tympanal complex presents different vibrational modes that also result in interaural coupling. The evolutionarily convergent, yet distinct, solutions used by these two small auditory systems to extract directional cues from the sound field and the role of tympanal coupling in this process are discussed. (+info)