Joel I Berger

Joel I Berger
University of Iowa | UI · Department of Neurosurgery

17.76
 · 
PhD, BSc

About

16
Publications
1,813
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145
Citations
Introduction
My primary research area is auditory neuroscience. I have a fascination with understanding how sound is represented within the brain, both in the presence of external stimuli and in the absence of an objective stimulus, as is the case with subjective tinnitus. I am currently a postdoctoral research scientist in the Department of Neurosurgery at The University of Iowa, under the supervision of Matt Howard, Tim Griffiths and Phil Gander. My PhD and first postdoc position were with Alan Palmer and Mark Wallace at the MRC Insitute of Hearing Research (UK). I utilise the latest tools in intracranial ECoG, behavioural neuroscience, PET and source-space EEG to further our understanding of basic neuroscience and translate this into benefits for patients.
Research Experience
January 2019 - present
University of Iowa
Position
  • Postdoctoral Research Scholar
October 2013 - November 2018
Medical Research Council (UK)
Position
  • Postdoctoral researcher

Publications

Publications (16)
Article
Full-text available
Tinnitus chronically affects between 10-15% of the population but despite its prevalence, the underlying mechanisms are still not properly understood. One experimental model involves administration of high doses of sodium salicylate, as this is known to reliably induce tinnitus in both humans and animals. Guinea pigs were implanted with chronic ele...
Article
Full-text available
Tinnitus is highly complex, diverse, and difficult to treat, in part due to the fact that the underlying causes and mechanisms remain elusive. Tinnitus is generated within the auditory brain; however, consolidating our understanding of tinnitus pathophysiology is difficult due to the diversity of reported effects and the variety of implicated brain...
Article
Full-text available
Tinnitus, the perception of sound in the absence of an external stimulus, is a particularly challenging condition to demonstrate in animals. In any animal model, objective confirmation of tinnitus is essential before we can study the neural changes that produce it. A gap detection method, based on prepulse inhibition of the whole-body startle refle...
Article
Full-text available
Animal models of tinnitus allow us to study the relationship between changes in neural activity and the tinnitus percept. Here, guinea pigs were subjected to unilateral noise trauma and tested behaviourally for tinnitus 8 weeks later. By comparing animals with tinnitus with those without, all of which were noise-exposed, we were able to identify ch...
Article
Full-text available
Tinnitus is often identified in animal models by using the gap prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle. Impaired gap detection following acoustic over-exposure (AOE) is thought to be caused by tinnitus "filling in" the gap, thus, reducing its salience. This presumably involves altered perception, and could conceivably be caused by changes at the le...
Preprint
Full-text available
Speech perception, especially in background noise, is a critical problem for hearing 20 impaired listeners, and an important issue for cognitive hearing science. Despite a plethora of 21 standardized measures, there are few single-word, closed-set tasks that uniformly sample the 22 phonetic space and which use response choices that balance all phon...
Article
Full-text available
Previous work has led to the hypothesis that, during the production of noise‐induced tinnitus, higher levels of nitric oxide (NO), in the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN), increase the gain applied to a reduced input from the cochlea. To test this hypothesis, we noise‐exposed 26 guinea pigs, identified evidence of tinnitus in 12 of them and then comp...
Preprint
Full-text available
This work examines how sounds are held in auditory working memory (AWM) in humans by examining oscillatory local field potentials (LFPs) in candidate brain regions. Previous fMRI studies by our group demonstrated blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) response increases during maintenance in auditory cortex, inferior frontal cortex and the hippoc...
Article
We tested the popular, unproven theory that tinnitus is caused by resetting of auditory predictions towards a persistent low-intensity sound. Electroencephalographic mismatch negativity responses, which quantify the violation of sensory predictions, to unattended tinnitus-like sounds were greater in response to upward than downward intensity devian...
Article
Full-text available
The gaseous free radical, nitric oxide (NO) acts as a ubiquitous neuromodulator, contributing to synaptic plasticity in a complex way that can involve either long term potentiation or depression. It is produced by neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) which is presynaptically expressed and also located postsynaptically in the membrane and cytoplasm...
Chapter
Full-text available
The inferior colliculus is an important auditory relay center that undergoes fundamental changes following hearing loss, whether noise induced (NIHL) or age related (ARHL). These changes may contribute to the induction or maintenance of phenomena such as tinnitus (phantom auditory sensations) and hyperacusis (increased sensitivity to sound). Here,...
Article
Full-text available
A common method for measuring changes in temporal processing sensitivity in both humans and animals makes use of GaP-induced Inhibition of the Acoustic Startle (GPIAS). It is also the basis of a common method for detecting tinnitus in rodents. However, the link to tinnitus has not been properly established because GPIAS has not yet been used to obj...
Article
Full-text available
Animal models of tinnitus are essential for determining the underlying mechanisms and testing pharmacotherapies. However, there is doubt over the validity of current behavioural methods for detecting tinnitus. Here, we applied a stimulus paradigm widely used in a behavioural test (gap-induced inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex GPIAS) while r...
Article
Full-text available
Cannabinoids have been suggested as a therapeutic target for a variety of brain disorders. Despite the presence of their receptors throughout the auditory system, little is known about how cannabinoids affect auditory function. We sought to determine whether administration of arachidonyl-2′-chloroethylamide (ACEA), a highly-selective CB1 agonist, c...
Article
Full-text available
A significant challenge in tinnitus research lies in explaining how acoustic insult leads to tinnitus in some individuals, but not others. One possibility is genetic variability in the expression and function of neuromodulators - components of neural signaling that alter the balance of excitation and inhibition in neural circuits. An example is nit...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
We are trying to develop reliable models of tinnitus in the guinea pig that we can use to test out potential pharmacological treatments. By developing different models based on noise exposure, salicylate or altered trigeminal input we hope to identify common mechanisms and the effects of associated conditions such as stress.