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Language Driven Activity, Impacted by Environment and Genes

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 10:21:51 AM Australia/Melbourne

Language Driven Activity, Impacted by Environment and GenesThis seems to be a trend recently on the Hearlink blog, but it’s an important part of our ethos to share the research that drives improvement as an industry. Recently, we shared the potential correlation between Tourette Syndrome and your hearing. Today, we take this one step further and cover recent studies that show the impact that both the environment and the genes of those closest to you, can impact your language development skills.

 

It’s been determined before this study, that several genes are associated directly with how you or I develop our language skills. These parlay into our cortical regions where language skills live. More specifically, this body of work looks at ERDs, or Event-Related Desynchronizations. So, what is an ERD? It’s a reduction of force in brain activities, that take place in a specific band of frequency. So, we know that there is an impact. The big question is how the different factors in our environments and in our genetic makeup impact our language development skills.

 

This body of research comes from Osaka University. Here, a team of researchers, including Masayuki Hirata and Toshihiko Araki are taking a closer look at brain activity. But they’re not just looking at brain activity in anyone, they’re taking a look at brain activity in monozygotic and dizygotic twins—in other words, both identical and fraternal twins. Language-developing activities take place in the left frontal area of the brain, so that’s where the experts have been focusing.

 

They’re leveraging magnetoencephalography (say that ten times fast), more commonly known as MEG. MEG helps to measure the brain activity in the audience of the study (the two groups of twins), while they read series of words and then determined what verb to generate, based on the group of words. Here’s where things get interesting. Remember the ERDs? These were measured in the 25-50 Hz frequency for the twins. The band that scientists were targeting is the low gamma band, and this is where the ERDs generated the most power in that front, left, area of the brain. Putting it all together- that’s the area of the brain where we develop language function!

 

There is still the question of what role genetics play, and what role environmental factors play. This is where scientists bring in structural equation modelling. This particular study showed that the outcome was equal for both. But there was one interesting finding here- it didn’t matter if the twins had been apart for long periods of time, the genetic control of ERD remained strong. This shows just how impactful genetic factors can be.

 

There is a lot of exciting science in the works, and many of these studies directly impact each other. They all have a common mission in mind, to educate the public and improve the health of future generations. This is a mission that Hearlink holds dear to our hearts. We’re excited to continue to share bodies of work like this one, with our Hearlink blog readers.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin