SFN: Vocalization Minisymposium

Neural Mechanisms Underlying Vocalization in Multiple Species: A Special Focus on Parkinson’s Disease Unfortunately, I missed most (read: all) of this minisymposium due to research-relevant poster sessions. However, I did stop in for the closing remarks, hoping to pick up some interesting tidbits.

Speakers touched on the need to look at vocalizations in animal models in both normal and diseased states. The speaker calls for better integration between the multiple disease models mentioning the possibility of using vocal changes as an early predictor to disease onset, particularly in Parkinson’s, but also in diseases such as Huntington’s, ALS, autism spectrum disorders.

A brief question and answer period:

One researcher suggests bringing back the cat as a research model. The panel agrees that there are many fine animal models, but declines to comment directly on the cat as a model system.

Another question regards the difference between production of ultrasound and “normal” vocalizations. According to a panel member, ultrasonic mouse vocalizations shift their fundamental frequencies when you alter the media through which they propagate – this is not the case for audible vocalizations from the mouse. To the panel member, this suggests distinct vocal production mechanisms for audible and ultrasonic vocalizations.

Where any readers out there present for more of the session? The comments section is open to any notes you may have from the session.