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Science. 2003 Apr 18;300(5618):498-502.

Environmental noise retards auditory cortical development.

Author information

1
W. M. Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA. echang@itsa.ucsf.edu

Abstract

The mammalian auditory cortex normally undergoes rapid and progressive functional maturation. Here we show that rearing infant rat pups in continuous, moderate-level noise delayed the emergence of adultlike topographic representational order and the refinement of response selectivity in the primary auditory cortex (A1) long beyond normal developmental benchmarks. When those noise-reared adult rats were subsequently exposed to a pulsed pure-tone stimulus, A1 rapidly reorganized, demonstrating that exposure-driven plasticity characteristic of the critical period was still ongoing. These results demonstrate that A1 organization is shaped by a young animal's exposure to salient, structured acoustic inputs-and implicate noise as a risk factor for abnormal child development.

PMID:
12702879
DOI:
10.1126/science.1082163
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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