New Gift Continues Work to Advance Understanding and Treatment of Misophonia

By Wendy Graber, School of Medicine Communications

In a remarkably short period of time, the Duke Center for Misophonia and Emotion Regulation (CMER) has become an international leader in advancing research, education, and treatment for people with misophonia and difficulty regulating emotions.  

In recognition of the valuable contribution CMER is making to demystify misophonia and help those who suffer from it, Duke has received a new $1.25 million, five-year gift from an anonymous family that builds on their previous commitment, which established the Center in 2019.

Zach Rosenthal
Zachary Rosenthal, PhD

CMER was founded by Zachary Rosenthal, PhD, associate professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine as an outgrowth of research he began more than a dozen years ago.

“Misophonia is a painful and challenging condition experienced in our family, and reliable treatment resources have been elusive,” a member of the donor family said. “Meeting Dr. Rosenthal five years ago was relieving, given his unwavering commitment, intelligence, and leadership in misophonia research. His collaborations with exceptional scientists through CMER have consistently impressed us, reinforcing our commitment to funding this group for evidence-based treatment development.”

Misophonia is a condition characterized by an acute nervous system response to certain repetitive sounds, such as chewing, throat clearing, or keyboard tapping. People with misophonia can experience a range of responses to these triggering sounds, from mild discomfort to intense and overwhelming anxiety, anger, or panic. In moderate cases, misophonia can interfere with normal daily activities; in severe cases it is debilitating, seriously disrupting work and school life, relationships, social activities, and more. Initial work done by CMER estimates that about 12% of people have moderate to severe misophonia.

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