-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Although loud noise can
result in irreversible hearing loss, researchers in Boston
partially restored the hearing of mice with noise-induced deafness
by regenerating damaged sound-sensing hair cells in the inner
The study authors said their findings might one day help lead to
the development of new treatments for people with acute hearing
The team of researchers, led by Dr. Albert Edge of Harvard
Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, manipulated
a cellular pathway that controls hair cells, known as the Notch
pathway. They found that new hair cells formed after stem cells in
the inner ear of the mice were treated with a drug that blocks this
The study was published in the Jan. 9 issue of the journal
"We show that hair cells can be regenerated from the surrounding cells in the cochlea," Edge explained in a journal news release. "The new hair-cell generation results in a recovery of hearing in the region of the cochlea where the new hair cells appear."
The study's authors concluded the treatment holds promise for
people with noise-induced deafness. "The significance of this study
is that hearing loss is a huge problem affecting 250 million people
worldwide," Edge concluded.
Experts often point out, however, that results achieved during
tests conducted on animals don't necessarily translate to
The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication
Disorders provides more information on
noise-induced hearing loss.
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