2019 Entry Meher Lad

Dr Meher Lad

2019 Entry Clinical Fellowship

The Role of Auditory Working Memory in Speech-in-Noice Perception

Hearing loss in midlife is the biggest risk factor for dementia but the reasons for this are unclear. Hearing loss may favour brain mechanisms leading to dementia in some people and studying these may allow us to 1) explain the link between hearing loss and dementia and 2) develop sensitive measures of brain processes leading to dementia.

I studied speech-in-noise perception as a central auditory ability that involves brain pathways implicated in common dementias when an individual has hearing loss. During my 1-year Brain Entry Fellowship I studied how speech-in-noise perception is related to memory for sounds over seconds. Work from our lab has shown that working memory for tones can engage the hippocampus, a brain region implicated in dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. Working memory is a key predictor of speech-in-noise perception when hearing is impaired and I was able to show that working memory ability for simple sounds, such as tones, are better related to the ability of someone to listen to a speaker in a noisy background than other kinds of sounds. Auditory tests for memory involving sounds that are time-invariant may be better suited to probe pathways implicated in hearing loss and dementia.

The Brain Entry Fellowship was vital in helping me progress to the next stage of my academic career. I was able to produce a successful MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship application in the time afforded to me by this fellowship. A key part of my research involves linking performance in auditory tasks to brain function and I was able to learn new skills in testing behaviour through online methods and develop analysis pipelines for neuroimaging analysis which I will use going forwards. This has already amounted to 2 publications which form the basis of work I will conduct to understand why hearing loss in midlife is the biggest risk factor for dementia. Guarantors of Brain were also particularly helpful in allowing me to adjust the timings of my fellowship due to the Covid-19 pandemic for which I was extremely grateful.


Sensory Loss and Risk of Dementia

Lad M, Sedley W, Griffiths TD

Neuroscientist. 2022 Sep 28; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36169300/


The hearing hippocampus

Alexander J Billig 1, Meher Lad 2, William Sedley 2, Timothy D Griffiths

Progress in Neurobiology 2022 Nov;218:102326. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2022.102326. Epub 2022 Jul 21. PMID: 35870677; PMCID: PMC10510040.


A specific relationship between musical sophistication and auditory working memory

Meher Lad 1, Alexander J Billig 2, Sukhbinder Kumar 3, Timothy D Griffiths

Scientific Reports 2022 Mar 3;12(1):3517. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-07568-8. PMID: 35241747; PMCID: PMC8894429


The Motor Basis for Misophonia

Kumar S, Dheerendra P, Erfanian M, Benzaquén E, Sedley W, Gander PE, Lad M, Bamiou DE, Griffiths TD

Journal of Neuroscience 2021 Jun 30;41(26):5762-5770. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0261-21.2021. Epub 2021 May 21. PMID: 34021042; PMCID: PMC8244967.


How Can Hearing Loss Cause Dementia?

Timothy D Griffiths, Meher Lad, Sukhbinder Kumar, Emma Holmes, Bob McMurray, Eleanor A Maguire, Alexander J Billig, William Sedley

Neuron 2020 Nov 11;108; doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.08.003. Epub 2020 Aug 31. PMID: 32871106; PMCID: PMC7664986

11 November 2020;

Speech-in-noise detection is related to auditory working memory precision for frequency

Meher Lad, Emma Holmes, Agatha Chu, Timothy D Griffiths

Scientific Report 2020 Aug 19;10(1); PMID: 32814792; PMCID: PMC7438331.

19 August 2020

Clinical Reasoning: A 72-year-old man with a progressive cognitive and cerebellar syndrome

Lad M, Griffiths TD

Neurology 2020 Nov 10, DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000010467