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Drug To Treat Malaria Could Mitigate Hereditary Hearing Loss
The ability to hear depends on proteins to reach the outer membrane of sensory cells in the inner ear. But in certain types of hereditary hearing loss, mutations in the protein prevent it from reaching these membranes. Using a zebrafish model, researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have found that an anti-malarial drug called artemisinin may help prevent hearing loss associated with this genetic disorder.
In a recent study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers found the classic anti-malarial drug can help sensory cells of the inner ear recognize and transport an essential protein to specialized membranes using established pathways within the cell.
The sensory cells of the inner ear are marked by hair-like projections on the surface, earning them the nickname “hair cells.” Hair cells convert sound and movement-in
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Sensing Food Textures Is A Matter Of Pressure
Food's texture affects whether it is eaten, liked or rejected, according to Penn State researchers, who say some people are better at detecting even minor differences in consistency because their tongues can perceive particle sizes.
That is the key finding of a study conducted in the Sensory Evaluation Center in the College of Agricultural Sciences by a cross-disciplinary team that included both food and speech scientists specializing in sensory perception and behavior. The research included 111 volunteer tasters who had their tongues checked for physical sensitivity and then were asked their perceptions about various textures in chocolate.
"We've known for a long time that individual differences in taste and smell can cause differences in liking and food intake -- now it looks like the same might be true for texture," said John Hayes, associate professor of food science. "This may hav
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Speech Recognition Technology Is Not A Solution For Poor Readers
Could artificial intelligence be a solution for people who cannot read well (functional illiterates) or those who cannot read at all (complete illiterates)? According to psycholinguists, speech technology should never replace learning how to read.
Researchers argue that literacy leads to a better understanding of speech because good readers are good at predicting words.
Even today about one in five humans is considered to be 'low literate' or illiterate; they cannot read or write simple statements about everyday life. Low literacy can be due to no or little reading practice or reading impairments such as dyslexia. For developing countries with low literacy rates, voice recognition has been hailed as a solution by companies such as Google, calling it 'the next big leap in technology'. But is speech technology really the solution for low literacy?
Falk Huettig and Martin Pickering argu
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Synthetic Speech Generated From Brain Recordings
A state-of-the-art brain-machine interface created by UC San Francisco neuroscientists can generate natural-sounding synthetic speech by using brain activity to control a virtual vocal tract -- an anatomically detailed computer simulation including the lips, jaw, tongue, and larynx. The study was conducted in research participants with intact speech, but the technology could one day restore the voices of people who have lost the ability to speak due to paralysis and other forms of neurological damage.
Stroke, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) often result in an irreversible loss of the ability to speak. Some people with severe speech disabilities learn to spell out their thoughts letter-by-letter using assistive devices that track very small eye or facia