Treatable brain inflammation may be behind tinnitus

Scientists may have seen a way to cure a maddening symptom of hearing loss.

Image source: Alex Iby/Unsplash/Big Think
  • A treatment for tinnitus – a constant ringing in the ears – has been frustratingly elusive.
  • Out-of-control inflammation, the brain's response to damage, may be the cause of long-term ringing in the ears.
  • A study that examined mice with noise-induced hearing loss seems to have found the neural trigger for tinnitus.
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Has a black hole made of sound confirmed Hawking radiation?

One of Stephen Hawking's predictions seems to have been borne out in a man-made "black hole."

Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • Stephen Hawking predicted virtual particles splitting in two from the gravitational pull of black holes.
  • Black holes, he also said, would eventually evaporate due to the absorption of negatively charged virtual particles.
  • A scientist has built a black hole analogue based on sound instead of light.
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Psychologically and physically, traffic is terrible for our health

Between the noise and frustration, we're suffering more than ever.

Photo credit: Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash
  • Traffic has been implicated in measurable exhaustion, an increase in blood pressure, negative attitudinal shifts, and a constant release of stress hormones.
  • In 2009, 3.9 billion gallons of fuel and 4.8 billion hours of time were wasted by Americans sitting in traffic.
  • Traffic is costing the US economy $100 billion every year.
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Want to know what mice in labs are saying? Try DeepSqueak.

A breakthrough app for ultrasonic squeak analysis.

(Kuttlevaserova Stuchelova/Shutterstock)
  • Mice have a vocabulary of about 20 different phrases.
  • A clever new neural-network-based application reveals what mice used in research say.
  • Spoiler: The conversation changes when a female shows up
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Sound could replace lasers in surgery

Moving from HOT to HAT, a dazzling new acoustic technology.

(Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
  • Scientists announce the ability to simultaneously manipulate individual levitated objects.
  • Using high-frequency sound waves may provide a safer alternative to laser microsurgery.
  • Video of the research looks like a cartoon, but it's all real.
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