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Spring 2010

Feature Story

The Long Road to Discovery: Stuttering Genes Turn Up in the Most Unexpected Places

Changsoo Kang, Ph.D., a visiting fellow in NIDCD’s Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, remembers the day vividly. Sitting in an undergraduate Introduction to Biomedical Science class in South Korea, he was asked what role genes play in humans. “I said that genes are involved in functions having to do with thinking and speaking, and was told that I was wrong.” More than 17 years later, Dr. Kang and an international group of researchers led by Dennis Drayna, Ph.D., have shown that genes do indeed play a role, at least in speaking, with the discovery of genes associated with stuttering. Read More

Recent Research and News

A New Mission for the Nose: Sniffing Out Multiplying Microbes

In recent research, NIDCD-funded scientist Thomas Finger, Ph.D., and his team have found a possible new role for the nose: a first-line defender against disease-causing bacteria. Read More

Gene Linked to a Rare Form of Progressive Hearing Loss in Males is Identified

A gene associated with a rare form of progressive deafness in males has been identified by an international team of researchers funded by the NIDCD. The gene, PRPS1, appears to be crucial in inner ear development and maintenance, and is associated with DFN2, a progressive form of deafness that primarily affects males. Read more

Gene Discovered in Childhood Language Disorder Provides Insight into Reading Disorders

The recent discovery of a gene associated with specific language impairment (SLI), a disorder that delays first words in children and slows their mastery of language skills throughout their school years, offers new insight into how our genes affect language development. The gene also plays a supporting role in other learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Read More

What a Mouse with ‘Golden Ears’ Can Tell Us About Older Brains

NIDCD-supported scientists have created a mouse model that is comparable to an older adult who has the ears of a healthy 20-year-old but the brain of that 20-year-old’s great-grandmother. They found that the new model had significantly better hearing than either of the parents, but their brains had difficulty compensating for sound in background noise. Read More

Words, Gestures Are Translated by Same Brain Regions, Says New Research: Findings May Further Our Understanding of How Language Evolved

NIDCD researchers in collaboration with scientists from Hofstra University School of Medicine, Hempstead, N.Y., and San Diego State University have shown that the brain regions that have long been recognized as a center in which spoken or written words are decoded are also important in interpreting wordless gestures. The findings suggest that these brain regions may play a much broader role in the interpretation of symbols than researchers have thought and, for this reason, could be the evolutionary starting point from which language originated. Read More

NIDCD Highlights

Noisy Planet Campaign Receives NHCA Media Award

NIDCD’s It’s a Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing campaign recently received the Media Award from the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA). Since 1993, the NHCA Media Award has recognized the efforts of writers or producers of news features that serve to heighten public awareness of the hazards of noise. Read More

NIDCD Director Receives 2009 Kerry-Manheimer Award

NIDCD Director James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., received the 2009 Kerry-Manheimer Award given by the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia in recognition of his career contributions as an outstanding researcher in the chemosensory sciences. Read More

Grants News

ARRA Summer Internships Introduce a New Generation to NIDCD-Funded Research

As part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), NIDCD brought new energy to laboratories across the country, as NIDCD-funded researchers provided summer research experiences for students, science teachers, and faculty from non-research-intensive institutions. Learn how the interns—some of them scientists in the making—and their mentors both benefited from the experience. Read more