Effects of Deafening on Vocal Nerve Cells Become Apparent Almost Immediately

by Kathy Jones on  March 10, 2012 at 8:24 PM Research News
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Researchers have long sought to find out how deafening affects the vocal nerve cells.
 Effects of Deafening on Vocal Nerve Cells Become Apparent Almost Immediately
Effects of Deafening on Vocal Nerve Cells Become Apparent Almost Immediately

Using a protein isolated from jellyfish that can make songbird nerve cells glow bright green when viewed under a laser-powered microscope, they were able to determine that deafening triggered rapid changes to the tiny connections between nerve cells, called synapses, which are only one thousandth of a millimeter across.

"I was very surprised that the weakening of connections between nerve cells was visible and emerged so rapidly -- over the course of days these changes allowed us to predict which birds' songs would fall apart most dramatically," Tschida said. "Considering that we were only tracking a handful of neurons in each bird, I never thought we'd get information specific enough to predict such a thing."



Source: Eurekalert

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