Document Detail

Leftward lateralization of auditory cortex underlies holistic sound perception in Williams syndrome.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20808792     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Individuals with the rare genetic disorder Williams-Beuren syndrome (WS) are known for their characteristic auditory phenotype including strong affinity to music and sounds. In this work we attempted to pinpoint a neural substrate for the characteristic musicality in WS individuals by studying the structure-function relationship of their auditory cortex. Since WS subjects had only minor musical training due to psychomotor constraints we hypothesized that any changes compared to the control group would reflect the contribution of genetic factors to auditory processing and musicality.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using psychoacoustics, magnetoencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging, we show that WS individuals exhibit extreme and almost exclusive holistic sound perception, which stands in marked contrast to the even distribution of this trait in the general population. Functionally, this was reflected by increased amplitudes of left auditory evoked fields. On the structural level, volume of the left auditory cortex was 2.2-fold increased in WS subjects as compared to control subjects. Equivalent volumes of the auditory cortex have been previously reported for professional musicians.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: There has been an ongoing debate in the neuroscience community as to whether increased gray matter of the auditory cortex in musicians is attributable to the amount of training or innate disposition. In this study musical education of WS subjects was negligible and control subjects were carefully matched for this parameter. Therefore our results not only unravel the neural substrate for this particular auditory phenotype, but in addition propose WS as a unique genetic model for training-independent auditory system properties.
Martina Wengenroth; Maria Blatow; Martin Bendszus; Peter Schneider
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2010-08-23
Journal Detail:
Title:  PloS one     Volume:  5     ISSN:  1932-6203     ISO Abbreviation:  PLoS ONE     Publication Date:  2010  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-09-02     Completed Date:  2010-11-04     Revised Date:  2013-05-28    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101285081     Medline TA:  PLoS One     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  e12326     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Neuroradiology, University of Heidelberg Medical School, Heidelberg, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Auditory Cortex / pathology,  physiopathology*
Auditory Perception / physiology*
Evoked Potentials, Auditory
Functional Laterality*
Organ Size
Williams Syndrome / pathology,  physiopathology*
Young Adult

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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