Monday, January 14, 2013

Hair Cell Regeneration

Well, after years of working with noisy machinery - up until 2001 I had operated milling machines and lathes for many years then, when I went self-employed, I used mowers, chainsaws, hedge cutters and strimmers - I'm often finding myself mentally replaying stuff that people have said because I didn't hear it properly. At some point, probably in the next ten years, I'm going to need a hearing aid, but damn I would much prefer the damage repaired at its root:



In the Jan. 10 issue of Neuron, Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School researchers demonstrate for the first time that hair cells can be regenerated in an adult mammalian ear by using a drug to stimulate resident cells to become new hair cells, resulting in partial recovery of hearing in mouse ears damaged by noise trauma. This finding holds great potential for future therapeutic application that may someday reverse deafness in humans.

This is the kind of article that undermines my usual pessimism.

8 comments:

Chrish said...

Yes please!

Paul said...

I'm still quite young, but I think that I may already have hearing damage due to the amount of music and concerts I go to. I think the term is 'ipod' generation. My hearing just isn't as good as it used to be. I know its not the same as industrial noise, but it probably takes it toll more than I think. My brother is a builder and he mentioned the noise onsite as being absolutely deafening so I think he is going that way as well. :( Help science!

Neal Asher said...

One of the problems you can get from listening to loud music, Paul (as Chris well knows) is perpetual tinnitus as well. Not sure whether renewed hair cells cure that too, though possibly, because one of the causes of it are dying hair cells.

Neil said...

It would nice to be able to fix tinnitus.

However can I have a bit more hair on my head. Though truth be told, hearing loss would be more of a councern.

Neal Asher said...

One of the causes of it IS dying hair cells damnit.

Neil said...

So is a case where all hair cells are created equal? Normally the human body isn't that accommodating.

Neil said...

On the subject tinnitus, ever been in the situation where you can hear a noise and no one else can and it really gets annoying.

At the moment I've can hear this very low resonating sound, which sounds like the kind of pump you'd have in a heating system, yet the only pump is in the boiler and I know when that's on. It's getting to the point where I'm going to switch off all the power in the house and bring it on breaker by breaker.

Damn it's annoying. It's getting to the point and actually going to see the doctor for a recommendation to a specialist. God knows how long that will take.

Neal Asher said...

Neil, well yes, and it's tinnitus!