Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS) is a rare disorder that causes neurocognitive and developmental deficits. However, musical and auditory abilities are preserved, or even enhanced, in WBS patients. Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have now identified the mechanism responsible for this ability in models of the disease. The findings were published on September 23, 2022 in Cell. The article is titled “Innate Frequency-Discrimination Hyperacuity in Williams-Beuren Syndrome Mice.” Understanding what causes the superior auditory ability in WBS patients may provide a target for treating the disease in addition to helping advance research on the ability to discriminate between sounds. WBS offers insight into the mechanisms that underlie enhanced auditory abilities. For instance, some people with WBS have “perfect pitch,” which is the ability to differentiate between notes or frequencies without a reference guide.
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