Novel Neural Circuits Behind Vocalization and Its Rhythms

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Rhythmic quality of vocalization is almost even among some species and is found to be arising from a novel brainstem circuit in mammals and birds as per a study at the University of California, San Francisco, published in the journal Neuron.

These clusters of neurons in the circuitry are found to also coordinate vocalization with breathing. Be it any vocal sounds — of humans (laughing, crying), babies, other mammals, songbirds, or even fish.

‘Novel brainstem’ neural cells that are responsible for coordinating vocalization with breathing are also found to be involved in the rhythmic quality of vocalization among several species.

“Just to laugh or shout, the body has to coordinate about 100 different muscles in a rhythmic pattern within a single breath. We discovered the neurons that, when switched on, give us this unconscious ability,” says Kevin Yackle, MD, PhD, a Sandler faculty fellow and senior author of the study.

The team found that a previously unknown circuit that appears to control the breath and coordinate the muscles needed to produce the vocal sounds were the same cells in the brain stem that were responsible for this rhythm.

These findings may help address various speech pathologies by further understanding the circuitry in detail.

Source: Medindia



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