Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 10th 2013 Contents A28
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Inner-ear problems could be a cause
of hyperactive behaviour, research
A study on mice, published in Sci-
ence, said such problems caused
changes in the brain that led to hyper-
It could lead to the development of
new targets for behaviour disorder
treatments, the US team says.
A UK expert said the study s findings
were "intriguing" and should be inves-
Behavioural problems such as Atten-
tion Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(ADHD) are usually thought to originate
in the brain.
But scientists have observed that
children and teenagers with inner-ear
disorders---especially those that affect
hearing and balance---often have behav-
However, no causal link has been
The researchers in this study suggest
inner-ear disorders lead to problems
in the brain which then also affect
The team from the Albert Einstein
College of Medicine of Yeshiva Uni-
versity in New York noticed some mice
in the lab were particularly active -
constantly chasing their tails.
They were found to be profoundly
deaf and have disorders of the inner
ear---of both the cochlea, which is
responsible for hearing, and the
vestibular system, which is responsible
The researchers found a mutation in
the Slc12a2 gene, also found in humans.
Blocking the gene s activity in the
inner ears of healthy mice caused them
to become increasingly active.
The researchers then examined the
striatum, an area in the centre of the
brain area that controls movement.
They found higher-than-normal lev-
els of two proteins, pERK and pCREB.
Mice with the gene flaw were given
injections of haloperidol, a medicine
already used to treat tics---uncontrol-
lable movement---in humans.
It was seen to counteract the high
protein levels, and mouse activity pat-
terns returned to normal.
The researchers suggest the same
process could be targeted in people,
and that medications could be devel-
oped to help manage hyperactivity in
children with inner-ear disorders.
Prof Jean Hebert, the lead scientist,
said: "Our study provides the first evi-
dence that a sensory impairment, such
as inner-ear dysfunction, can induce
specific molecular changes in the brain
that cause maladaptive (counterpro-
ductive) behaviours traditionally con-
sidered to originate exclusively in the
Anita Thapar, professor of child and
adolescent psychiatry at Cardiff Uni-
versity s Institute of Psychological Med-
icine and Clinical Neurosciences, said
it was an "intriguing study and set of
Prof Thapar, whose research has sug-
gested there could be a genetic link to
ADHD, added: "It certainly raises the
issue that we ought to critically consider
what contributes to the links between
sensory impairments and specific
But she added there should be cau-
tion about directly extrapolating the
findings to humans.
"ADHD, like most neuropsychiatric
and medical disorders, is not caused
by a single mutation.
"On the other hand animal models
allow for experimental manipulation
in a way that cannot be achieved in
humans and the results can help shape
hypotheses to test in humans." (BBC)
Inner ear disorders 'linked to hyperactivity'
The study suggests that inner-ear disorders lead to problems in the brain which then also affect behaviour.
PHOTO COURTESY WIKIPEDIA
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
• Attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder is thought to affect
two-five per cent of children and
• Common symptoms include
• Symptoms tend to be first
noticed at an early age and it is
normally diagnosed between the
ages of three and seven.
• Recent evidence showed a 50
per cent rise in the use of drugs
for the condition in England,
with 657,000 prescriptions
issued for drugs including
Last month, New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg shared some ques-
tionable advice on how to become suc-
cessful at work: Don t go to the bath-
"I always tried to be the first one in
in the morning and the last one to leave
at night, take the fewest vacations and
the least time away from the desk to go
to the bathroom or have lunch,"
Bloomberg said on his weekly radio
show. "You gotta be there."
It wasn t the first time the mayor has
suggested that chaining yourself to your
desk is the way to get ahead. In 2011,
he told TechCrunch, "Don t ever take
a lunch break or go to the bathroom,
you keep working."
But Bloomberg s bladder-holding
approach may not be as conducive to
productivity and success as the mayor
would like to think. A number of incred-
ibly successful people have had their
most brilliant ideas in the bathroom,
and research actually supports the idea
that being in the shower could boost
your powers of innovative thinking.
According to Harvard psychologist
Shelley H Carson, author of "Your Cre-
ative Brain," little distractions like going
to the bathroom can actually be a good
thing when it comes to creativity. She
explains that interruptions and diver-
sions can lead to a creative "incubation
"In other words, a distraction may
provide the break you need to disengage
from a fixation on the ineffective solu-
tion," Carson told the Boston Globe.
Bathroom breaks spur creativity
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