Researchers closer to Unveil Mechanisms of Speech Processing in the Brain

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - 12:57

Researchers of Oviedo's lab became closer to unraveling mechanisms of speech processing in the brain.

According to the research, published in Nature Communications, researcher observed different specializations between a mouse’s left and right auditory processing centers of the brain and found differences in their wiring diagrams that may explain their distinct speech processing functions, Medical Express reports.

The results of Oviedo's study could someday lead to a better understanding of certain mental health problems such as Autism spectrum disorder, which has been linked to a failure of lateralized language processing to develop between the two halves of the brain, and abnormal lateralization is a risk factor for auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia.

"Our discovery of the differences in the wiring diagram provides the opportunity to study the molecular phenotypes that shape the development of vocalization processing and how it goes awry in neurodevelopmental communication disorders," said Hysell V. Oviedo, a biology professor with The Graduate Center, CUNY and the City College of New York.

Through a battery of experiments such as 3-D whole-brain imaging, electrophysiology, and optogenetics, the researchers analyzed properties including synaptic connectivity, axonal projections and development of both hemispheres. "Our study is the first to show that there are significant differences in the wiring diagram of the language centers in the brain that could underlie their distinct speech processing capabilities," Oviedo explained.


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