September 12, 2014 in Research
September 12, 2014 in Research
The Southern – Illinoisan
August 21, 2014
SPRINGFIELD — A physician researcher at SIU School of Medicine has been awarded a five-year federal grant from the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health to continue his studies of how to reduce hearing loss in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
The current research project will examine whether capsaicin, a component of hot chili peppers, can reduce hearing loss and kidney damage if given prior to or after a dose of cisplatin, an anti-cancer drug frequently used for chemotherapy. Read more . . . →
For News-Herald Media
August 18, 2014
Difficulty hearing may be more than just a quality-of-life issue. Growing evidence indicates that untreated hearing loss in older adults can lead to other health conditions, and one of the most concerning is cognitive decline.
In fact, a Johns Hopkins Study found that cognitive diminishment was 41 percent more likely in seniors with hearing loss. Because maintaining the health of the brain is such a priority for older people, hearing difficulties should not be ignored.
Hearing and the brain
To hear well, the brain and ears work together. Sound is heard through the ears, and then the brain translates the noise so you can understand what it is. This means you not only hear language, music and traffic, but you comprehend these are all different sounds with different meanings.
With untreated hearing loss, the signals to your brain are weaker, and therefore you have to think much harder to understand the noises around you. When the brain is using more cognitive resources to understand sounds, other brain activities like memory and comprehension can suffer, often causing cognitive decline.
Effects of untreated hearing loss
In addition to diminished mental health, untreated hearing loss can lead to numerous health conditions: mental fatigue and stress, poor memory, concentration difficulty, social withdrawal and depression.
August 14, 2014 in Research
August 12, 2014
NIDCD Scientists Advance Understanding of Molecules in Deafness Genes, Head & Neck Cancers
NIH Researchers Characterize Elusive Myosin 15, Protein Linked to a Form of Hereditary Hearing Loss
NIH researchers report that they have purified a key part of myosin 15, a molecular motor protein that helps build healthy hearing structures in the inner ear. Mutations in the myosin 15 gene (MYO15A) have been linked to a form of hereditary deafness in humans. Using a novel approach to express the protein, researchers have revealed the first detailed insight into the molecule’s structure and function, laying the foundation for new treatments for some forms of hearing loss. The new approach to expressing myosin 15 may also help the study of other types of myosin motors, such as skeletal and cardiac muscle myosins, which could accelerate development of targeted drug therapies for heart disease and other health conditions. The study was published online August 11 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more »
Researchers Find Molecular Similarities Among Head and Neck, Lung, and Bladder Cancers
Researchers at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), working as part of a team of scientists with The Cancer Genome Atlas Network, have identified a characteristic molecular pattern shared by head and neck, lung, and some bladder cancers. The molecular profile offers information that could help physicians diagnose and develop new treatment strategies for these diseases. The results of the study appeared online August 7 in the journal Cell. Read more »
Medical Press, Australia
by Anne Rahilly
Hearing-impaired children fitted with a second cochlear implant (CI) early in life, have significantly better outcomes in aspects of their communication and learning.
A five-year research study from the University of Melbourne shows that bilateral cochlear implantation resulted in improved language, social development, and academic outcomes for children.
Lead researcher, Dr Julia Sarant from the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology said there are improved learning outcomes as well as, community cost benefits and greatly improved quality of life for hearing-impaired children.
“Children in this study with bilateral CIs developed vocabulary and spoken language significantly faster than children with only one CI. This has enormous implications for their long-term future,” she said.
Severe-profound congenital hearing loss is a significant cost to society. In 2005, specialised education cost on average $25,000 per child, loss of productivity cost $6.7 billion, and social security benefits were paid to approximately 129,000 individuals who were unemployed due to hearing loss
The study was conducted across Victoria, NSW, Qld, SA, and New Zealand, involving cochlear implant clinics and early intervention centres with over 160 children.
Recently, the NZ Health Department recommended a change of the current federal funding policy in favour of having all hearing-impaired children under the age of six years fitted with bilateral implants.
“I was asked to consult with policy makers in NZ and I am pleased they have noted these findings and made the appropriate changes,” said Dr Sarant.
As the U.S. celebrates the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, a first-of-its-kind report shows people with disabilities are less financially stable than people without disabilities
(Washington, D.C. – July 22, 2014) – A new report released today from National Disability Institute (NDI) shows 24 years after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law and guaranteed all individuals with disabilities the opportunity to achieve “economic self-sufficiency,”people with disabilities are less financially stable than people without disabilities.
Based on data collected from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s 2012 National Financial Capability Study released last year, this groundbreaking report highlights for the first time a nationwide snapshot of the financial capability and financial wellness of adults with disabilities.
National Disability Institute’s report, Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities – Findings from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation 2012 National Financial Capability Study,analyzed data from 1,363 of the more than 25,000 respondents to the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS) self-identifying as “permanently sick, disabled or unable to work.” While the report analyzes one segment of people with disabilities, the results provide an important lens on the financial capability of many Americans with disabilities. According to U.S. Census data, nearly one in three people with disabilities in the United States live in poverty, a figure nearly double the national poverty rate.
Two months ago, a drumbeat would not have gotten a reaction from Auguste Majkowski. The 3-year-old was born deaf.
“Learning your child is deaf is difficult. You just have to sink it in, cry it out and you have to move on for the sake of the child.”
When cochlear implants didn’t work, Auguste’s family traveled from Canada to Los Angeles to have an experimental surgery. Dr. Mark Krieger and his team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles placed a tiny device deep in Auguste’s brain called an auditory brain stem implant.
“It basically brings sound waves from the outside world, converts them into electrical impulses and transmits them directly into the brain.”
August is one of ten children under the age of five who is taking part in the U.S. experiment.
His therapist, Dr. Laurie Eisenberg says he’s already responding to sound, but will need years of therapy.
“He has to go through the same steps that an infant would go through to learn how to hear and process speech.”
Auguste’s mom says therapy is the hardest part of his day, but it’s worth it if he can communicate better.
“If he ends up hearing really well or speaking, that’s a bonus.”
90.5 WESA Pittsburgh’s NPR News Station
By ESSENTIAL PITTSBURGH
A new research survey by EPIC Hearing Healthcare finds that 30 percent of U.S. employees suspect they have hearing loss, but have not sought treatment.
Of those, almost 95 percent say it impacts them on the job yet many go out of their way to hide their hearing loss for fear of losing their job.
Pittsburgh audiologist, Dr. Suzanne Yoder says preconceived notions about hearing loss is what hinders most people from getting the help they need.
“Hearing loss unfortunately has that bad reputation where people feel like if they admit they have a hearing problem, they’re going to be seen as being old, which is something that they don’t want. Or, they’ll be seen as less capable, that their employer will think less of them, or treat them differently, maybe not give them that promotion. The sad thing is, it’s actually the reverse. You treat your hearing loss and you deal with the issues, you’re more likely to earn a better living. There’s research to back that up, that shows there’s a loss of salary for those with untreated hearing loss. It’s extremely important to go out and start dealing with it and not bluffing your way through conversations. The reality is, when you bluff, when you pretend, you end up looking worse.”
Dr. Yoder, herself born with hearing loss that wasn’t diagnosed until she was school-aged, tells listeners that it is never too early in life to get your hearing checked, especially if your profession involves loud or even repetitive noises. She also recommends hearing protection, especially for musicians, to whom she recommends special headphones.
“Many people put it off until it’s a big problem, and that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. You want to get evaluated before it becomes a really big problem.”
Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. – Retired NFL players may be at risk for permanent hearing loss and tinnitus, according to Loyola University Medical Center ear surgeon John Leonetti, MD.
Many NFL players suffer one or more concussions during their careers. And Leonetti notes that such blunt head trauma has been associated with hearing loss and tinnitus (chronic ringing or buzzing in the ears).
Leonetti said there are two possible mechanisms by which blunt head trauma, such as a blow to the head, could damage hearing or cause tinnitus:
– A blow to the head can cause the brain to wiggle like Jell-O, thereby damaging the nerves that connect the brain to the inner ear.
– A blow to the head also can create a shock wave that damages the cochlea, the delicate auditory portion of the inner ear.
There is anecdotal evidence that athletes who play football and other contact sports may be at risk for hearing damage:
– Leonetti recently spoke to retired players alongside EarQ at a meeting of the Chicago chapter of the NFL Players Association. When Leonetti asked how many players had experienced concussions during their career, they all raised their hands. When Leonetti asked how many have experienced hearing loss approximately 25 percent raised their hands. When he asked how many have tinnitus approximately 50 percent raised their hands.
– Hall of Fame NFL lineman Joe DeLamielleure told USA Today that he experienced countless blows to the head during a 13-year career, and has suffered a 68 percent hearing loss in his left ear as a result.
– Retired NHL hockey player Curt Bennett alleged in a class action lawsuit that he suffered from injuries associated with concussions and sub-concussive impacts, including tinnitus and hearing loss in both ears.
“To date, there is no proof that NFL players are suffering hearing loss and tinnitus at a rate higher than that of other men their ages,” Leonetti said. “But based on what we already know about blunt head trauma, as well as anecdotal reports from retired athletes, we believe there are compelling reasons to conduct a scientifically rigorous study to quantify the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus among retired NFL players.”
Leonetti is a professor in the departments of Otolaryngology and Neurological Surgery and program director of Cranial Base Surgery at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
A scientific team in France reports that the absence of a specific protein in the inner ear or impairment of the gene that codes for it leads to profound deafness in mice and humans. The researchers believe that it is possible to consider developing gene therapy strategies for deafness caused by defects in this gene.
“The goal of our study was to identify which isoform of protocadherin-15 forms the tip-links, the essential connections of the auditory mechanotransduction machinery within mature hair cells that are needed to convert sound into electrical signals,” remarks Christine Petit, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and professor at the Institut Pasteur in Paris and at Collège de France.
Three types of protocadherin-15 are known to exist in auditory sensory cells of the inner ear but it was not clear which of these protein isoforms was essential for hearing. “Our work pinpoints the CD2 isoform of protocadherin-15 as an essential component of the tip-link and reveals that the absence of protocadherin-15 CD2 in mouse hair cells results in profound deafness,” she said.
Dr. Petit and her colleagues reported the details of their study (“The CD2 isoform of protocadherin-15 is an essential component of the tip-link complex in mature auditory hair cells”) in EMBO Molecular Medicine.
Within the hair bundle—the sensory antenna of auditory sensory cells—the tip-link is a bridge-like structure that when stretched can activate the ion channel responsible for generating electrical signals from sound. Tension in the tip-link created by sound stimulation opens this channel of unknown molecular composition thus generating electrical signals and, ultimately, the perception of sound.
June 16, 2014
Original Article: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-06-scientists-closer-silencing-tinnitus.html
New research funded by charity Action on Hearing Loss suggests that tinnitus can be eliminated by blocking signals between the ear and brain, offering hope to suffers that a cure is within reach, with prolonged exposure to loud music or working in a noisy environment often the main reasons why people are affected by the distressing condition.
Researchers at the University of Western Australia treated guinea pigs with a drug called furosemide one week after tinnitus had been triggered by exposure to loud noise. The drug treatment lowered the activity of the auditory nerve, reduced neural hyperactivity in a specific part of the brain that processes sound and crucially the animals treated with the drug no longer displayed signs of tinnitus.
Dr Helmy Mulders who led the research said: ‘Studies in human tinnitus sufferers are still needed to confirm our results and to establish whether or not this approach will be effective for people who have had tinnitus for a long time, but our research shows that lowering the activity of the auditory nerve may be a promising approach to treating recently triggered tinnitus.’
May 29, 2014
Here’s a reason you should always bring your partner to a cocktail party: As the ’80s hair band music pumps and the voices in the background all sound like indistinguishable blah blah blah — with your loved one there, you’ll be able to understand what at least one person is saying.
Neuroscientists have long known about the “cocktail party problem” — where a roomful of talking people make picking up the words of one particular person difficult for anybody. And it gets even worse in middle age.
A Canadian researcher shed some new light on the condition at a meeting of neuroscientists this week, highlighting a touch of good news about the accuracy of auditory perception as we age. Yes, we are all going to have less acute hearing when we get older, but the sound of a familiar voice can help compensate for that loss.
At the Canadian Association for Neuroscience annual meeting in Montreal, Queen’s University scientist Ingrid Johnsrude said despite reduced hearing accuracy shared by all of us as we age, the voices of long-time spouses are still so distinct that people can pick them out of a crowd.
May 22, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS — Children with profound deafness who receive a cochlear implant had as much as five times the risk of having delays in areas of working memory, controlled attention, planning and conceptual learning as children with normal hearing, according to Indiana University research published May 22 in the Journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.
The authors evaluated 73 children implanted before age 7 and 78 children with normal hearing to determine the risk of deficits in executive functioning behaviors in everyday life.
Executive functioning, a set of mental processes involved in regulating and directing thinking and behavior, is important for focusing and attaining goals in daily life. All children in the study had average to above-average IQ scores. The results, reported in “Neurocognitive Risk in Children With Cochlear Implants,” are the first from a large-scale study to compare real-world executive functioning behavior in children with cochlear implants and those with normal hearing.
A cochlear implant device consists of an external component that processes sound into electrical signals that are sent to an internal receiver and electrodes that stimulate the auditory nerve. Although the device restores the ability to perceive many sounds to children who are born deaf, some details and nuances of hearing are lost in the process.
First author William Kronenberger, Ph.D., professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine and a specialist in neurocognitive and executive function testing, said that delays in executive functioning have been commonly reported by parents and others who work with children with cochlear implants. Based on these observations, his group sought to evaluate whether elevated risks of delays in executive functioning in children with cochlear implants exist, and what components of executive functioning were affected.