March 09, 2007

New Research Study on Noise Response and Schizophrenia Risk (Australia)

How people respond to noise may indicate whether they're likely to develop schizophrenia or Parkinson's disease, Australian researchers suggest - and they are now recruiting participants for a new study to learn more about this area. (we've reported on this in the past - see "startle response".

The researchers from the Hunter Medical Research Institute are recruiting people for a study which will examine the relationship between these disorders and the way people process sound.

Project Manager, Dr Linda Campbell, said previous research had revealed that the brain chemical dopamine modulated how we responded to unexpected or suddenly occurring noises.

“Too much dopamine can cause psychosis and people can start to hear things no one else can hear, such as voices,” she said.

“People with schizophrenia have been found to have too much dopamine, and medication to block dopamine action in the brain is one way of controlling aspects of the disorder. But people with Parkinson’s disease have too little dopamine, which creates movement problems.”

“However, when treated with medication to increase dopamine in the brain, Parkinson’s patients sometimes become psychotic, while people with schizophrenia have the reverse effect and sometimes experience movement problems, similar to Parkinson’s disease.”

Dr Campbell said this posed a great challenge to the treatment of both disorders.

“This study into this emerging area will examine how, why and where differences in dopamine related behavior arise in the brain while listening to sounds,” she said.

The University's Priority Research Centers bring together researchers across health, energy and the environment, and science and engineering. This study has received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Researchers are inviting people to participate in the research which will involve an interview, a hearing test, an EEG recording which picks up the subtle electrical activity of the brain, and a magnetic resonance scan of the head (MRI).

To Learn more, or Participate: For People in New South Wales, Australia, contract the study recruitment officer, Vanessa Case, on 02 4924 6603.


My friend has schizophrenia, he hears noices, what noices can one hear. thanks tom

Posted by: thomas bryson at May 9, 2007 05:19 AM

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