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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Heeding the hormonal call

An enduring question in evolutionary biology is: How optimized are organisms for their environment? This question is perhaps best addressed in the field of sensory biology. It is straightforward to specify both sensory stimuli--such as species-specific communication signals, signals from predator or prey, or noise--and the transmission properties of the environment. Furthermore, it is easy to measure the ability of an animal's sensory system to pick up these signals. Some sensory receptors are sharply tuned to particularly potent signals, whereas others are broadly sensitive to the total array of signals encountered. Of particular interest are examples of apparent mismatches between communication signals and the sensitivity of the receptors receiving them. Could it be that an appropriate well-matched signal has not yet been found? Are the sensory receptors optimally tuned to a different signal that belongs to the evolutionary past? Is the mismatch exploited during, for example, the selection of a mate? Or, is the mismatch a reflection of the dynamic nature of matching between communication signals and sensory systems--that is, does the matching between sender and receiver change depending on the stage of the life cycle or environmental conditions? The answer is provided by Sisneros and colleagues on Science. 2004 Jul 16;305(5682):349-50., who chose as their subject the plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus), a nocturnal fish that inhabits Pacific coastal waters. These investigators resolve the apparent mismatch between a vocal mating signal emitted by the male fish and the sensitivity of the female's auditory system by demonstrating that steroid reproductive hormones increase the sensitivity of the female's auditory system to the male's courtship calls. (from Zakon H.)

Fw: Help Increase NIH Funding

ARO Members:

This year Congress is moving with uncharacteristic speed to write and pass its appropriations bills.  Consideration of the bill that contains funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expected to begin on June 8 in the U.S. House of Representatives. As you may know, the President has recommended just a 0.7% increase in NIH funding for this year, well below the 3.5% rate of biomedical research inflation.

Visit CapWiz, an on-line legislative action center, provided to you by SfN to send a letter to your Representative urging for increased funding: http://capwiz.com/sfn/home/

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Sample Letter:

Dear Representative:

As consideration on the FY 2006 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (L-HHS) Appropriations bill moves forward, I urge you to include a 6 percent increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).   As a constituent and member of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, I am concerned with the state of biomedical research funding for this year.

As you may know, the President has recommended just a 0.7 percent increase in NIH funding for this year, well below the 3.5 percent rate of biomedical research inflation.  If enacted, the President's recommendation will actually move research backwards.  The recommendation would result in less funding and fewer grants awarded than in past years.

Reducing our investment in biomedical research has serious negative implications - not just for the health of the American people - but also for our economic strength as a nation, as Europe and Asia press forward with strong commitments to research.

The Association for Research in Otolaryngology represents more than 2,000 basic and clinical researchers from around the globe who are dedicated to improving the understanding of hearing and other communication disorders.  The U.S. commitment to advancing scientific progress and health benefits is dependent upon federal health dollars.

An increase of 6 percent is needed to meet inflation and restore funds that have been transferred for other purposes in the current year.  Please support at least a six percent increase in NIH funding in the FY06 L-HHS Appropriations bill.

Thank you for your consideration.

This letter was modified from a Society for Neuroscience request.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Animal's life saves human life! Posted by Hello

Monday, May 23, 2005

Fw: Auditory hair cell replacement by gene therapy in deaf mammals

This is a follow-up of similar gene therapy for hearing loss involved with hair cell, published in Nature medicine 13 February 2005.
An exciting discovery which will benefit certain senior people with hearing loss. However, we need to wait to see if it works for humans.

SRF mediates activity-induced gene expression and synaptic plasticity

Just published in Nature Neuroscience, 8 May 2005, the paper addressed the issue of synaptic activity-dependent gene expression, which is critical for certain forms of neuronal plasticity and survival in the mammalian nervous system.It is a very interesting advance in use-dependent modification of synaptic strength in the adult brain.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Noise can prevent progressive sensorineural hearing loss

Research paper has been published in J Comp Neurol. 2004 May 3;472(3):358-70. The research indicated that prolonged exposure to augmented acoustic environment on auditory system of middle-aged mice can prevent outer hair loss in the cochlear and save the neurons in the cochlear nucleus. It also implicates a sex difference.
According to the research, women should use hearing aid earlier to fight hearing loss after menopause or afflicted with hearing loss associated with menopause.