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Dr. Guy McKhann’s Team Publishes Paper on Sound Detection in the Parkinson Brain

Dr. Guy McKhannDr. Guy McKhann is senior author* of a paper just published on the role of dopamine neurons in sound detection in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Dopamine neurons are nerve cells in the brain that release the neurotransmitter dopamine, a substance that helps carry messages between nerve cells.

Dr. McKhann and his team of researchers were able to monitor the activity of these neurons inside the brains of patients undergoing surgery for Parkinson’s disease. They recorded how the neurons, in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, responded as they played two types of sounds; either novel or repetitive tones.

Dr. McKhann and his group found that the dopamine neurons “fired more rapidly following novel sounds than repetitive tones.” Scientists have long known that these neurons played a key role in normal cognitive processes and disease states in animal models and this is the first time it has been confirmed in humans. This is also important because it changes established models used to describe how novel sounds are detected in the brain.

The paper, Features and timing of the response of single neurons to novelty in the substantia nigra, is published in the January 2014 issue of the journal Brain Research.

Learn more about his research online here or in the journal Brain Res. 2014 Jan 13;1542:79-84.

Learn more about Dr. Guy McKhann on his bio page here.

*Authors include: Mikell CB, Sheehy JP, Youngerman BE, McGovern RA, Wojtasiewicz TJ, Chan AK, Pullman SL, Yu Q, Goodman RR, Schevon CA, McKhann GM 2nd.

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