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Connection Between Sound Perception and Fear Almost Discovered
Everyone knows that connection between our emotions and music is very strong. Anyone who listens his favorite music knows how powerful music is and how it affects our emotions. However, music and sound can affect people in both ways- positive and negative. Our emotions control this process because they are responsible how we hear and how we process sound.

Hearing similar sounds to those we like can evoke good feelings because many certain types of sounds are associated with very strong emotions in our brains. In similar way, sounds can evoke negative feelings as well.

Some tests on combat veterans suffering from post- traumatic stress disorder were examined and this phenomenon with hearing association was present. These patients could evoke terrible memories from the battlefield just with a simple and common sounds like sounds of thunder, wind and rain. However, scientists were blind for a long time, because they couldn’t find out which mechanisms were responsible for these associations. Nowadays, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have discovered how fear can increase or maybe decrease the ability of discrimination between wide range of sounds. This discovery has provided new viewpoint in victims suffering post- traumatic stress disorder.

Benefits of emotions in human

Many scientists from Penn University thins that our emotions are very close linked to our perception. These emotions and our emotional response can really help us deal with newly occurred problems. Just to explain, our emotion for example, fear, can help us escape some potentially dangerous situations. This emotion also gives us ability to react very quickly.
However, there are also some situations where things can definitely go wrong in the way the fear response develops. These situations can occur in some pathological conditions like anxiety and also in PTSD. In these situations the emotional response to these events is generalized to the point where the fear response starts getting developed to a very broad range of stimuli.

Earlier experiments on mice

A group of scientists have used emotional conditioning in laboratory mice to find out how hearing acuity can change following unpleasant event. This is commonly known as classic emotional learning. ( Hearing acuity is the clarity of clearness of hearing. It is a measure how good person hears and is the person able to distinguish two tones of different frequencies. This hearing acuity is commonly used to determine persons need for hearing aid ). In these experiments on mice, which rely on classical (Pavlovian) conditioning, animals learn to separate potentially dangerous and safe sounds. This conditioning is called emotional discrimination learning. This type of conditioning is not that good method of examination. It has no brilliant results and it has showed a relatively poor learning. However, a group of scientists have designed a series of learning tasks with a mission to create progressively greater emotional discrimination in the laboratory animals- mice, with variations in the difficulty of the task. What really was interesting for those scientists was how different levels of emotional discrimination can possibly affect hearing acuity. In other words, they wanted to find out how emotional responses affect perception and discrimination between sounds. The specificity of this study is that it created the connection between perception of the world and emotions, and this fact was unknown until now.

Further experiments

As expected, scientists have discovered that fine emotional learning tasks have shown greater learning specificity and results than experiments in which the tones were farther apart in frequency. The animals examined with various sounds that were far apart generalized the fear that they developed to the danger tone. This danger tone was over a whole range of frequencies. On the other hand the animals tested with the two sounds that were very similar exhibited specialization of their emotional response. Due to fine conditioning task, they found out that it's a very short range of pitches that are eventually dangerous.

Results of the study

When scientists measured pitch discrimination abilities in the animals, they noticed that mice with more specific responses showed way more finer auditory acuity than the mice who were tested with a wider range of frequencies. In final results, a connection between how much their emotional response generalized and how well they could tell different tones apart was present. In first case, animals that specialized their emotional response had sharper pitch discrimination. In other words, these animals were able to discriminate two tones which could not be separated previously. Another very interesting finding of this study are effects of the emotional learning on hearing perception which were under control of the auditory cortex. From the previous researches auditory cortex has been known as part of the brain responsible for auditory plasticity. However, an interesting discovery was also registered. Auditory cortex did not play role in emotional learning.

Link between auditory cortex and amygdala remains unknown

When we know that auditory cortex is involved, and when we know that emotional learning is controlled by sub- cortical auditory areas and amygdala, one question still remains unanswered: how do the amygdala and cortex interact together? This question has no answer, but there is a hypothesis that the cortex and amygdala are modifiers of the subcortical auditory processing areas. The sensory cortex has role for the changes in discrimination of the frequencies. However, this brain part is not required for developing generalized or specialized emotional responses.

Possible solutions

If scientists find the way for solving that problem, it could promise new insight into the causes and possible treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, and the question of why some people develop it while others subjected to the similar events do not. Nowadays, researchers are sure that there is a strong link between mechanisms that control emotional learning and the brain mechanisms responsible for posttraumatic stress disorder development. One of the main foci in the future will be defining and studying that connection.
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“Time heal each and every pain” but in certain cases of traumatic experiences, even time fails to erase the bad memories. This is called as “post traumatic stress”. It is normal to feel frightened , anxious, sand and disconnected after a traumatic experience. But if with the time , it does not fade and the sense of danger and painful memories continues, it need to be treated with modern medicines and technologies. Modern technology and medical field had therefore helped “time” in one or another way to finally heal this pain also as like many other disorders and diseases. Life is to live with time and space. Time will heal your pain and space will give you the required room to move on with your life without any fear / stress.

In this article let us learn what is post traumatic stress disorder, its signs and symptoms in children and old aged persons, causes and risk factors and more importantly some very useful and innovative ways to fight successfully with PTSD.

If some unexpected event occurs in life which threatens your safety and makes you feel helpless, post traumatic stress disorder can develop in some of such cases. This is normal if it is faded with time . But in many cases, the fear continues. Many painful events which can lead to PTSD are road accident , Plane crashes, war, natural disaster, rape , kidnapping, sexual or physical abuse even childhood neglects can lead to PTSD. But it is always not that any response after such events is PTSD. Moreover it is normal reaction to fear after such incidences.The difference between normal response and PTSD is that PTSD is so overwhelming and disturbing that they would upset anyone else not associated with that incident or event. On the other hand to have bad dreams, find it difficult to stop thinking of what had happened and feel fearful is all normal reaction to the abnormal event.

Most common symptoms are trouble sleeping at night, and continuous feeling of irritation. Other common symptoms are feeling of intense distress when reminded of the trauma. Re-experiencing the traumatic event. Increased emotional arousal and anxiety. In such cases, even slight sense can trigger such bad feelings. Like an image, smell, some words, similar events. In many cases , loss of interest in life and all activities and feeling of detached from other. But this this disorders can be completely cured upto the extent that even if the same incident re-occurs with the patient , the impact is very less as compared to earlier post event symptoms.

In children s; especially young , the symptoms includes fear of being separated from parents, losing previously skill as acquired by elders, sleep problem, new phobias unrelated to trauma etc.
It is important to help any suspect of PTSD, a small support can help the patients a lot.

Early treatment is always better. The proper treatment for PTSD is always important. This treatment relieves symptoms that one experiences post trauma, in this case a small help is very useful for such patients. This small help can be a great trigger towards for his to make his life normal again. During the treatment, one will explore feeling and thoughts about the trauma. It will work to reduce the feeling of self-blame, guilt and mistrust. This will help to learn how to fight with and control bad memories. In totality the treatment is meant to solve the problems PTSD has been causing to patients life and its relationship with all others. The first attack is to neutralize the effect of incident in psychological way.

Apart from Psychological treatments, various scientific therapies can be worthy. The process of gradually exposing yourself to feelings, thoughts and situation that recalls you of the incident is called as “Trauma-focused cognitive – behavioral therapy ” This therapy involves identification of thoughts that upsets patients. Once this are identified, they are gradually replaced with more balanced pictures.
Making aware of what the patients is going through is equally important to get back his original feelings. This can be with the help of Family therapy. This includes everyone in family to communicate better and work jointly to resolve the syndrome. Many a times such therapy is supported with medications, this includes antidepressant drugs such as Prozac and other lie Zoloft. These drugs help to feel fresh and reduce worries but together with therapy can immediately help to treat the causes of PTSD.

Another important therapy is called as EMDR which is “Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing” in this, the eye movements and other forms of rhythmic movements are balanced to normal. This phenotype expression correction helps to quickly recover from PTSD. Such stimulation are thought to help by unfreezing the processing system of brain.

Apart from above therapies and medications, if we help the patients of PTSD morally, it will be a peace of mind for him and also his family members. Few tips which can really work as miracle are be patients and understanding, try to anticipate and prepare for such syndromes triggers, Don’t take these symptoms personally and get affected by it, don't pressurize your loved one in talking.

Therefore even though medications are useful to treat PTSD, but in such cases, understanding and love can serve as a divine medication for patients of PTSD. After all peaceful and happy mind is the healthy mind !

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The Auditory Cortex is actually part of the cerebral cortex found in the temporal lobe which is a sensory area associated with the organ for hearing. It is also called the auditory center or auditory area. It performs a function in the auditory system which can be both basic and advanced. Its exact location is on the posterior half of the superior area of the temporal plane just within the lateral fissure.

It has an afferent function due to the fact that auditory perception comes from the cortical area where it is received and processed. The neurons in the Auditory Cortex are arranged in accordance to their frequency of sound. Just as the cochlea is organized associated with sound frequency, so are the neurons in the Auditory Cortex, where each end responds to either low or high frequencies. It involves tasks including the identification and segregation of auditory components and finding its source location.

There are three separate parts of the Auditory Cortex. These are the primary, secondary, and tertiary ones. The primary cortex is responsible for the identification of musical elements such as loudness and pitch.

The Amygdalae are located in the medial temporal lobes of the brain where they are shaped like almonds as sets of neurons. They form part of the limbic system having the major role in processing emotions. This means they acts as storage in the formation of memories related to emotional events. The amygdala is also said to be linked to pleasure and fear responses.

Those who are suffering from depression, autism, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, and certain phobias are thought to be the result of abnormal functioning of the amygdala.

Since the superficial portion of the amygdala is known for being sensitive to social signals, such as music, it is possible that both the amygdala and auditory cortex share a special connection when music is used to trigger emotions. Related to the findings above and having their own experiment conducted, Professor Tim Griffiths from the Newcastle University finds new light to their study of discovering the link between these two organs. He stated, “This might be a new inroad into emotional disorders and disorders like tinnitus and migraine in which there seems to be heightened perception of the unpleasant aspects of sound.”
Lyka Candelario, RN
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