Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Deafness and Misbehavior

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Science Signaling  10 Sep 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 292, pp. ec217
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004705

Behavioral problems accompanied by hyperactivity often occur in children with severe hearing loss and vestibular impairment. Explanations have focused on socioenvironmental factors, but Antoine et al. found that inner ear defects can cause dysfunction in the striatum, which leads to abnormal behavior—especially hyperactivity—mediated by dopamine and glutamate signals, in an area of the striatum that is instrumental in controlling motor output. The abnormal behavior can be reversed by injection of an extracellular signal–regulated kinase inhibitor, which provides a novel target pathway for the treatment of behavioral disorders.

M. W. Antoine, C. A Hübner, J. C. Arezzo, J. M. Hébert, A causative link between inner ear defects and long-term striatal dysfunction. Science 341, 1120–1123 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]