In this study, we investigated the mechanism for the left cerebral hemisphere's dominance for speech perception. We utilized the crossover of auditory pathways in the central nervous system to present speech stimuli more directly to the left hemisphere (via the right ear) and right hemisphere (via the left ear). Using functional MRI, we found that estimated duration of neural response in the left auditory cortex increased as more speech information was directly received from the right ear. Conversely, response duration in the right auditory cortex was not modulated when more speech information was directly received from the left ear. These data suggest that selective temporal responding distinguishes the dominant from nondominant hemisphere of the human brain during speech perception.
"The left SMG, which we found to be hyper-responsive to external speech in hallucinators, is located at the temporoparietal junction and is a heteromodal region involved in processing and integrating multisensory inputs (Matsuhashi et al., 2004). Left-lateralisation of SMG hypersensitivity to speech is compatible with a stimulus content effect, given the left hemisphere's functional lateralisation for speech processing (Hunter et al., 2007). In schizophrenia, activation of the left SMG has been shown to occur during auditory hallucinations (Sommer et al., 2008). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Investigating auditory hallucinations that occur in health may help elucidate brain mechanisms which lead to the pathological experience of auditory hallucinations in neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. In this study, we investigated healthy individuals who reported auditory hallucinations whilst falling asleep (hypnagogic hallucinations; HG) and waking up (hypnopompic hallucinations; HP). In an initial behavioural study, we found that subjects with a history of auditory HG/HP hallucinations (n = 26) reported significantly greater subjective sensitivity to environmental sounds than non-hallucinator controls (n = 74). Then, two fMRI experiments were performed. The first examined speech-evoked brain activation in 12 subjects with a history of auditory HG/HP hallucinations and 12 non-hallucinator controls matched for age, gender and IQ. The second fMRI experiment, in the same subjects, probed how brain activation was modulated by auditory attention using a bimodal selective attention paradigm. In the first experiment, the hallucinator group demonstrated significantly greater speech-evoked activation in the left supramarginal gyrus than the control group. In the second experiment, directing attention towards the auditory (vs. visual) modality induced significantly greater activation of the anterior cingulate gyrus in the hallucinator group than in the control group. These results suggest that hallucination proneness is associated with increased sensitivity of auditory and polysensory association cortex to auditory stimulation, an effect which might arise due to enhanced attentional bias from the anterior cingulate gyrus. Our data support the overarching hypothesis that top-down modulation of auditory cortical response characteristics may be a key mechanistic step in the generation of auditory hallucinations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brain development is largely shaped by early sensory experience. However, it is currently unknown whether, how early, and to what extent the newborn's brain is shaped by exposure to maternal sounds when the brain is most sensitive to early life programming. The present study examined this question in 40 infants born extremely prematurely (between 25- and 32-wk gestation) in the first month of life. Newborns were randomized to receive auditory enrichment in the form of audio recordings of maternal sounds (including their mother's voice and heartbeat) or routine exposure to hospital environmental noise. The groups were otherwise medically and demographically comparable. Cranial ultrasonography measurements were obtained at 30 ± 3 d of life. Results show that newborns exposed to maternal sounds had a significantly larger auditory cortex (AC) bilaterally compared with control newborns receiving standard care. The magnitude of the right and left AC thickness was significantly correlated with gestational age but not with the duration of sound exposure. Measurements of head circumference and the widths of the frontal horn (FH) and the corpus callosum (CC) were not significantly different between the two groups. This study provides evidence for experience-dependent plasticity in the primary AC before the brain has reached full-term maturation. Our results demonstrate that despite the immaturity of the auditory pathways, the AC is more adaptive to maternal sounds than environmental noise. Further studies are needed to better understand the neural processes underlying this early brain plasticity and its functional implications for future hearing and language development.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2015; 112(10). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1414924112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Evidence of the brain network involved in cognitive dysfunction has been inconsistent for major depressive disorder (MDD), especially during early stage of MDD. This study seeks to examine abnormal cognition connectivity network (CCN) in MDD within the whole brain.
Sixteen patients with MDD and 16 health controls were scanned during resting-state using 3.0 T functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). All patients were first episode without any history of antidepressant treatment. Both the left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) were used as individual seeds to identify CCN by the seed-target correlation analysis. Two sample t test was used to calculate between-group differences in CCN using fisher z-transformed correlation maps.
The CCN was constructed by bilateral seed DLPFC in two groups separately. Depressed subjects exhibited significantly increased functional connectivity (FC) by left DLPFC in one cluster, overlapping middle frontal gyrus, BA7, BA43, precuneus, BA6, BA40, superior temporal gyrus, BA22, inferior parietal lobule, precentral gyrus, BA4 and cingulate gyrus in left cerebrum. Health controls did not show any cluster with significantly greater FC compared to depressed subjects in left DLPFC network. There was no significant difference of FC in right DLPFC network between depressed subjects and the health controls.
There are differences in CCN during early stage of MDD, as identified by increased FCs among part of frontal gyrus, parietal cortex, cingulate cortex, and BA43, BA22, BA4 with left DLPFC. These brain areas might be involved in the underlying mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction in MDD.
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