While physicians have long noted that children with balance and hearing difficulties resulting from inner ear issues also have a high rate of hyperactivity, a recent study now shows why. In a lab, it was noted that certain mice with deafness or other inner ear disorders were unusually hyperactive. Given the circumstances, researchers decided it was a good opportunity to study why this was happening. Generally, hyperactivity was thought to originate within the brain. Hyperactivity is therefore treated as being a brain disorder. It was not until recently when this new study was published that things could begin to change.

The inner ear of a human is responsible for two things: balance and hearing. Therefore, a change in the senses seemed to produce a molecular change in the brain, and this is the first documented study of its kind. It was found that the hyperactive mice had a genetic defect. The same gene found in humans is responsible for the transportation of certain minerals and nutrients to the body, and further investigation revealed that the removal of this specific gene in a healthy mouse increased its amount of activity. Further testing also revealed that two proteins when removed from the mice also increased motor activity. The two proteins are key to neural signaling and brain pathways, and explains why they aid in maintaining the level of activity. When the proteins were re-administered, a normal rate of activity resumed.

Researchers are optimistic that with more testing, hyperactivity may be controlled merely by administering the missing proteins. It is also suggested by these findings that other mental disorders may also originate from other sensory dysfunctions. Since this is a relatively new understanding more research is needed, but this has proved to be an enlightening find.