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SCI/TECH: Medical Breakthrough: Hearing Restored In Deaf Animals

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posted on Feb, 14 2005 @ 01:32 PM
Medical researchers from Michigan have restored hearing in deaf mammals by using gene therapy to regenerate hair cells in the inner ear.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - By transferring a gene that regulates fundamental cell development into the inner ear of deafened guinea pigs, researchers have regenerated so-called hair cells and partially restored the animals' hearing

Hair cells inside the cochlear of the ear respond to sound waves and convert them into electrical nerve signals that the brain interprets as sound. Damaged or absent hair cells are one cause of profound deafness.

If similar improvements could be delivered to the human ear, he added, "it would probably improve the threshold in a way that would make many people very happy, but it would still leave the hearing impaired in its quality."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This is the result of 10 years of research and there is a long way to go before this gene therapy will be able to be used on humans. None the less this is very exciting news for millions of people across the world.

Most likely this will be a therapy used for people who are already wear cochlear implants. These implants help those lacking of the hair cells hear better. With the gene therapy thing will improve dramatically.

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posted on Feb, 14 2005 @ 02:59 PM
and all it required was dedication, intelligence, funding, and animal experimentation.

And all we hear day in and day out is how there's nothing to be gained from such things-and how cruel it is. Pretty sure these animals were artificially deafened, before the testing.

Is it worth it in the end? I believe so. But if PETA had it's way, this would never have been more than a theory. Now it's a possible therapy.

[edit on 14-2-2005 by Phugedaboudet]

posted on Feb, 14 2005 @ 03:29 PM
You are correct Phugedaboudet. The guinea pigs were artificially deafened. guinea pigs, whose original hair cells were destroyed by exposure to ototoxic drugs...

I found that the symptoms of ototoxic drugs are not severe and are well worth it to repair the hearing loss of millions of deaf people world wide.

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