BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Has it ever happened to you to get extremely annoyed by the sounds people make when they eat? Or do you feel like you can’t stand the sound of a crying baby? If the answer is yes, then you might have a brain condition called misophonia.
The notion of misophonia was introduced 16 years ago. This condition is present in people who dislike the sounds of eating, chewing, or loud breathing. It is known to typically affect people older than 19. There is no treatment available for this disorder. What these people can do is use soundproof devices, such as headphones that block the outside sounds.
How does misophonia manifest? Individuals who suffer from this disorder can become annoyed, upset, angry, or even scared when they hear what we call “trigger” sounds.
Researchers at the Newcastle University in the United Kingdom have performed several studies on misophonia. They discovered that it is caused by abnormalities located in the frontal lobe of the brain.
They have performed brain scans on patients and noticed that their brain activity is altered when they hear certain sounds. They call these sounds trigger sounds and have revealed that they can cause both emotional and physiological responses, for example an increased heart rate.
Those people who have the abnormality have more excited connections in the frontal lobe of the brain. This lobe is responsible with the suppressing of abnormal reactions to all kinds of sounds. However, misophonia patients record an opposite behavior of the frontal lobe. Instead of being subdued, those connections are excited.
Tim Griffiths is a Professor of Cognitive Neurology at the University of Newcastle. He said that he was part of those who were skeptical about the authenticity of the disease but, after seeing the brain scans, he could assure the sufferers that they were not insane and they actually had a brain condition.
By analyzing how the mechanism of the brain acts differently in misophonia, they can now establish a basis for this abnormal condition. Thus, the researchers can now find therapeutic solutions and search for other disorders linked to abnormal emotional reactions that have not been regarded so far as actual medical conditions.
Misophonia is not regarded as a medical condition and it is not listed as a disease by DSM-IV, but this research might pave its way to medical recognition.
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