A group of researchers have found "hypersensitive" brain connections in people who have extreme reactions to sounds, such as chewing or breathing loudly.
People with misophonia are sensitive to certain noises. The reaction can be extreme and combine anger, disgust, and fight-or-flight response. And even the desire to hurt the one who makes the noise. Moreover, extreme forms of misophonia lead to the fact that a person finds everyday life unbearable. It is believed that this problem affects between six and 20 percent of the population.
Now, researchers at Newcastle University have found increased connectivity in the brain between the auditory cortex and motor control areas associated with the face, mouth, and throat. Details of the work were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Scientists have noticed that most trigger sounds trigger mouth movements. They suggested that misophonia is based on a system of mirror neurons associated with them. To confirm their hypothesis, the team performed fMRI scans on 33 volunteers. She also compared the responses to sound in 42 patients with misophonia and the control group.
The results showed that misophonia sufferers have a stronger connection between the auditory and visual cortex and the ventral premotor cortex. In addition, the authors revealed a stronger functional connection between the auditory cortex and the orofacial motor region during the perception of sound by the patients. As well as stronger activation of the orofacial motor region in response to trigger sounds.
“Our results show that people with misophonia have an abnormal connection between the auditory and motor regions of the brain - it can be described as hypersensitive,” explained study author Dr. Suhbinder Kumar. “Interestingly, some are able to cope with symptoms by mimicking the actions that trigger sounds produce. It can bring back a sense of control to the sick."
For example, the results of a new study confirmed that misophonia is not associated with a negative reaction to sounds, but with the fact that certain noises cause brain activity in the areas involved in creating such a sound. This knowledge can help us develop new treatments for people.