A new study suggests that inner-ear disorders increase hyperactivity. The researchers conducted the study in mice. They implicated two brain proteins in this process, providing potential targets for intervention.
Over the years, scientists have observed that many children and adolescents with severe inner-ear disorders (particularly disorders affecting both hearing and balance) also have behavioural problems, such as hyperactivity. But, there was no scientific evidence that showed the ear disorders and behavioural problems are actually linked.
According to the lead author, Jean M. Hebert, Ph.D., professor in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience and of genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, the study provides the first evidence that a sensory impairment, such as inner-ear dysfunction, can induce specific molecular changes in the brain that cause maladaptive behaviours traditionally considered to originate exclusively in the brain.
The findings are published in the online edition of Science.
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