The Auditory Thalamus

  • Scientists have identified a chemical in the brain that can be blocked to boost the learning of music and language in adults. Learning language or music is usually a breeze for children, but the capacity declines dramatically with age.
  • Scientists from the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the U.S. showed that limiting the supply or the function of the neuromodulator adenosine in a brain structure called the auditory thalamus preserved the ability of adult mice to learn from passive exposure to sound much as young children learn from their soundscape.
  • The auditory thalamus is the brain’s relay station where sound is collected and sent to the auditory cortex for processing.
  • The auditory thalamus and cortex rely on the neurotransmitter glutamate to communicate.


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