Anyone who loves concerts and music, understands that the fear of losing your hearing is always lingering above our heads, even if we don’t want to admit it. Did you know that, “many animals regenerate the tiny hair cells that enable hearing”? This is what The Atlantic‘s Jessa Gamble reported when writing about a conducted research study that could possibly help us humans do the same and prevent hearing loss overall.
Hearing loss and deafness is a major issue in our species today. Almost over 1/3 of senior citizens suffer from hearing loss. And you don’t just have to be old. Back in 2010, CBS News reported that one in five teens also suffered from the ear failure due to the loud music played through their earbuds, headphones, and at concerts. However, with the recent studies, this problem may no longer exist, and it may be reversible.
Why is it the case that we don’t hear, but birds and frogs can? It’s because unlike them, when mammals have punctured their hearing, they do not grow back the necessary ear hair cells to actually recognize sound. Furthermore, according to Hypetrak a Dutch company by the name Audion Therapeutics, has announced that they will soon start human trials on a drug they have tested on mice before, and that has shown proven success to regenerate inner-ear cells.
Audion’s Dr. Albert Edge had made a remarkable discovery back in 2013 that transformed the way he saw the study. By utilizing a notch inhibitor, a way to send certain signals to the nerve cells in specific locations in a conservative manner to receive a reaction, he found that there were side-effects of curing deafness in dementia patients! What was specifically found in Edge’s study, as noted by The Atlantic and Hypetrak, is that with each hair cell, one would respond “best to a particular frequency of sound” and that they needed to be placed along the cochlea. By doing this, scientists are given a way to find exactly where the effects of the drug were occurring for these new hearing aid cells. In the case of the mice, when they regrew their hair cells, the pitches and nerve cells better matched to each other in their ears than before! They recognized the sound!
As of right now, Audion is collaborating with the pharmaceutical entity, Eli Lilly, to create compounds that might fit the found mold. They have received generous donations to contribute to their research funds, but the struggle is in the fact that there is now a lot of competition out there. It is wonderful that there are so many people out there trying to solve this case, though.
Sourse: Boston University
Image Credit: Boston University
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