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Jean Hebert paper published in Science
An association between inner ear defects and abnormal behaviors such as hyperactivity has been observed in several species including humans and mice. However, any causative link between loss of hearing or balance and abnormal behavior remained unclear. In the Antoine et al. report, severe inner ear defects are shown to cause hyperactivity by influencing the levels of two key signaling proteins, pERK and pCREB, in the striatum, the brain area that regulates motor output. These findings suggest that sensory inputs may play a greater role than previously appreciated in the development and function of the brain. The study also points to new targets for therapeutic interventions.