Probably most of us can say that at some point in our lives, we have been irritated by repeating sounds such as someone clicking their pen or even chewing. Recently, a team of scientists from the United Kingdom has discovered that people with an intense emotional response to repeating sound might suffer from a condition called misophonia.
Tim Griffiths of the Newcastle University declared that this condition is real, and clinical studies have confirmed its existence. Griffiths, who is also a professor of cognitive neurology at the University College of London and the Newcastle University, explained that people with misophonia have a distinct repulsion towards very specific and repeating sounds.
Naturally, most of us get a tad irritated when we hear such sound – think about someone clicking their pen or a person chewing with his mouth open. However, Griffiths pointed out that individuals diagnosed with this condition experience much more intense symptoms such as sweating and increased heart rate.
The professor and his team tracked down the source of this condition to an abnormal wiring in the frontal lobe. As he explained, there is an area in the frontal lobe which helps us to suppress intense emotions.
In people with misophonia, due to an abnormal neural connection in that area, the brain is no longer capable of suppressing intense emotions associated with loud and repeating sound, resulting in a “fight” or “flight” reaction.
To track down and confirm this new condition, Griffiths and his team, performed MRI brain scans on 20 volunteers who experience symptoms associated with misophonia. The researchers also performed brain scans on a control group of 22 healthy adults.
The brain scans revealed that due to the anomaly located in the frontal lobe, patients with misophonia are unable to contain their emotions. Griffiths declared that upon hearing a sound like a pen clicking, chewing, and breathing, the brain basically shifts into overdrive.
By tracking down the brain region responsible for this condition, Griffiths believes that new therapies can be devised. He added that patients with misophonia could learn how to suppress intense emotions associated with repeating and loud sounds through therapy.
The team who identified and cataloged the condition stated that their study managed to alleviate the wave of skepticism coming from the scientific community who believed that misophonia was not an actual condition.
Sukhbinder Kumar, the study’s leader declared that therapists will now be able to regulate certain emotional reactions by studying the brain activity associated with them.
Image source: Wikipedia
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