An over-sensitized brain connection has been identified in people suffering from misophony, an extreme reaction to “shooting” sounds.
For the first time, researchers led by the University of Newcastle have discovered greater brain connectivity between the auditory cortex and motor control areas related to the face, mouth, and throat.
Publishing today, at Journal of Neurosciences, the lead author, Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, a researcher at the University of Newcastle at the Institute of Biosciences, said: “Our findings indicate that for people with misophony there is abnormal communication between the auditory and motor brain regions. could be described as a “supersensitive connection”.
“This is the first time such a connection has been identified in the brain for the disease.”
Misophony, which literally means “hatred of sound,” is a condition in which patients experience intense and involuntary reactions to certain sounds produced by other people, called “triggering” sounds. Triggering sounds are usually the sound of someone chewing, breathing, or talking and for patients, usually related to the activity of the mouth, throat, or face.
Their reaction is often extreme and usually consists of a combination of anger, disgust, fight or flight response, sometimes a desire to hurt the person making the sound or to leave the situation.
The disease is common and affects between 6% and 20% of people. People with more severe forms may find themselves unable to tolerate family, work, public, or social situations.
Previously, misophony had been considered a disorder of sound processing. This new research suggests that along with this, there is an abnormal type of communication between the auditory center of the brain, the auditory cortex, and the areas of the ventral pre-motor cortex that are responsible for the movement of the face, mouth. and the throat.
In response to activating or neutral sound, scans of people with misophony showed that the auditory cortex of the brain (hearing center) responded similarly to people without this disease, however, people with misophony showed greater communication. between the auditory cortex and motor control areas related to the face, mouth, and throat. These motor control regions were strongly activated by trigger sounds in people with misophony in response only to their trigger sounds, but not to other types of sounds or in people without this condition.
Dr. Kumar adds: “What surprised us was that we also found a similar pattern of communication between the visual and motor regions, which reflects that misophony can also occur when something visual is triggered.
This led us to believe that this communication activates something called a ‘mirror system’, which helps us process the movements made by other individuals by activating our own brain in a similar way, as if we were making this movement ourselves.
“We believe that in people with misophony the involuntary deactivation of the mirror system causes some kind of sense that the sounds produced by other people are introduced into their bodies, out of their control.
“Interestingly, some people with misophonia may decrease their symptoms by mimicking the action generated by the sound of the trigger, which may indicate restoring a sense of control. Using this knowledge can help us develop new therapies for people. with this disease “.
Tim Griffiths, a professor of cognitive neurology at the University of Newcastle, lead author of the study and also a neurologist, added: “The study offers new ways of thinking about treatment options for misophony. Instead of focusing on so centers of the brain, which do many existing therapies, effective therapies should take into account the motor areas of the brain. brain too.”
The team will further investigate whether this understanding can help develop more effective treatments for misophony in the future.
Sukhbinder Kumar et al, The motor basis of misophony, The Journal of Neuroscience (2021). DOI: 10.1523 / JNEUROSCI.0261-21.2021
University of Newcastle
Citation: Supersensitive Connection Causes Hatred to Noise (2021, May 24) Retrieved May 24, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-supersensitive-hatred-noises.html
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