Thursday, June 11, 2009

How young mice phone home

Photo montage courtesy Jack Kearse and the Liu Lab

Study: Mothers' brains screen for baby calls

Emory researchers have identified a surprising mechanism in the brains of mother mice that focuses their awareness on the calls of baby mice. Their study, published June 11 in Neuron, found that the high-frequency sounds of mice pups stand out in a mother's auditory cortex by inhibiting the activity of neurons more attuned to lower frequency sounds.

"Previous research has focused on how the excitation of neurons can detect or interpret sounds, but this study shows the key role that inhibition may play in real situations," said Robert Liu, assistant professor of biology and senior author of the study.

Read more.

Watch a video of a mother mouse responding to a baby's call

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