The Corpus Christi Caller-Times from Corpus Christi, Texas on August 12, 1951 · Page 43
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The Corpus Christi Caller-Times from Corpus Christi, Texas · Page 43

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Corpus Christi, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 12, 1951
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Page 43
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How a Soft Drink Machine Led to a New Medical Idea of Silence! CHICAGO. C AN YOU HEAR OTHER PEOPLE talking while you sleep? Can your sleeping brain ever hear a coin drop? In a special clinic here two doctors have found answers to those questions. And in doing so one of them made a strange discovery about that coin. · It was an important discovery, too, because it is going to help thousands of deaf babies grow up into happy adults. · Some of those deaf babies you may know. (There are 1,500,000 V.S. children with hearing defects!) · It all began one day not long ago when a husband and wife, Dr. and Mrs. Frederic A. Gibbs of th^ University of. Illinois College of Medicine, were studying the waves given off by a woman patient's brain while she slept. Dr. Gibbs was peering at what doctors call an BEG machine. Just as a television screen shows you what actors are doing in a studio, an EEG machine lets you look at the voltage pattern given off by your own brain-or anybody's brain. An Idea Is Born S UDDENLY, the sleeping woman's brain waves showed a marked change, then settled back to the old pattern. Puzzled, Dr. Gibbs watched. After a few minutes it happened again. And then Dr. Gibbs noticed a curious thing. In a nearby corridor stood a soft drink machine. Nurses and doctors kept stopping to get a cool drink. · Every time someone dropped a nickel in the machine, the woman's train waves changed. In her sleep, she was hearing the nickels drop! · In the same hospital, as it happened, another brilliant young doctor was working on a problem:. · Thousands of TJ.S. babies are born partly or totally deaf. But how to tell has always been a serious preblem for doctors. It often happens that a baby's deafness is not- discovered until he is hi school. And by that time he may have suffered great emotional injury. And so the other doctor, Richard E. Marcus, assistant prbfessor of otolaryngology, had been, wondering: Can you detect deafness in a baby by studying his brainwaves in his sleep? Would an EEG machine tell the doctor what the child himself was unable to tell? Dr. Marcus, who had done much of his work at the Speech and Hearing Clinic of the Illinois "Eye and Ear Infirmary, put the question to Dr. Gibbs. "I remembered the nickels in the soft drink machine," says Dr. Gibbs, smiling. So the EEG was tried. It worked. The pictures on these pages show how. Freddie Young is five and does not yet speak very well. His mother worried because he kept asking her to repeat what she said. No one could tell by ordinary t.e_sts whether Freddie could hear well. So tiny wires were taped to his head and Freddie lay down for a nap. · In the next room, Drs. Gibbs and Marcus watched the wave impulses on the EEG machine. Soon Freddie's brain waves quieted down and he slept. · Then Dr. Marcus nodded to Mrs. Young. The young mother tiptoed into Freddie's room and whispered his name. If Freddie were deaf, Dr. Marcus knew, he would hear no sound in his sleep. But suddenly, the EEG machine, as icith the sleeping woman who heard the nickels, recorded a new wave pattern. EEG machine tells technician Fred is asleep. In his sleep, Freddie had heard his mother. His hearing was good! Now doctors will try to find other reasons why he does not yet speak too well. So Freddie can hear. But sometimes a baby won't respond in this test. "Then," said Dr. Marcus, "we know the ears don't hear! and he inust learn other means of communication:" Sometimes, too, a baby in daily life never responds to his mother's voice or other normal sounds. But the EEG test shows he may be able to hear. · "In this case," says Dr. Marcus, "we look for brain damage. Doctors then seek other means of helping." · What do such-findings mean? 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