Research - Archive

NIDCD Scientists Advance Understanding of Molecules in Deafness Genes, Head & Neck Cancers

August 14, 2014 in Research

 

 

NIH-NID

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 »

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Cochlear Implant Also Uses Gene Therapy to Improve Hearing

August 1, 2014 in Research, Technology

 

 

MIT Technology Review
By Katherine Bourzac
Article Source

The electrodes in a cochlear implant can be used to direct gene therapy and regrow neurons.

Researchers have demonstrated a new way to restore lost hearing: with a cochlear implant that helps the auditory nerve regenerate by delivering gene therapy.

The researchers behind the work are investigating whether electrode-triggered gene therapy could improve other machine-body connections—for example, the deep-brain stimulation probes that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, or retinal prosthetics.

More than 300,000 people worldwide have cochlear implants. The devices are implanted in patients who are profoundly deaf, having lost most or all of the ear’s hair cells, which detect sound waves through mechanical vibrations, and convert those vibrations into electrical signals that are picked up by neurons in the auditory nerve and passed along to the brain. Cochlear implants use up to 22 platinum electrodes to stimulate the auditory nerve; the devices make a tremendous difference for people but they restore only a fraction of normal hearing.

“Cochlear implants are very effective for picking up speech, but they struggle to reproduce pitch, spectral range, and dynamics,” says Gary Housley, a neuroscientist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who led development of the new implant.

Read more . . .

Two ears are better than one

August 1, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

Medical Press, Australia
by Anne Rahilly
Article Source

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  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  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.

 

NDI Report Finds Adults with Disabilities Continue to be Economically Shortchanged

July 31, 2014 in Disability Law, Research

NDI

NDI REPORT FINDS ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES CONTINUE TO BE ECONOMICALLY SHORTCHANGED DESPITE ADA’S GUARANTEE

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.

Read more . . . →

New Interactive Studio Allows Deaf Children to ‘Hear’

July 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology

 

 

http://www.designntrend.com
by Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
Article Source

In a spectacular merging of engineering and acoustics, The Cooper Union in New York City has created a unique learning environment for deaf and hearing-impaired children.

By installing an interactive light studio at the American Sign Language and English Lower School in New York City, the studio displayed entertaining images and graphics on an interactive screen. The pre-kindergarten children using the 270-square-foot space get to learn through their interactions with the moving images and light pulses and the displays allow them to actually understand the intricacies of sound, despite the fact that they can’t actually hear.

“We are creating a learning environment in which deaf and hearing-impaired children can explore and appreciate the various qualities of music and sound through the interplay of light and vibration,” said Melody Baglione, a professor at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. “We have developed technologies enabling the children to visualize sound.”

Read More  . . .

New Treatment for Deaf Children

July 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

KTVN-TV
Reno, NV
Source URL

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.”

Watch Captioned Video  . . .

Can Denying Hearing Loss Affect Your Job?

July 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

90.5 WESA Pittsburgh’s NPR News Station
By ESSENTIAL PITTSBURGH
Article Source

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.”

Retired NFL Players May be at Risk for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

July 11, 2014 in Community News, Research

 

 

Released: 7-Jul-2014 11:00 AM EDT 
Source Newsroom: Loyola University Health System
Article Surce

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.

Protein Discovery May Lead to Cure for Hearing Loss

June 24, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

GEN
Jun 18, 2014
Source: http://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/protein-discovery-may-lead-to-cure-for-hearing-loss/81249996/

 

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.

Read More . . .

 

 

 

New study brings scientists a step closer to silencing tinnitus

June 18, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

Medical Press
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.

One in ten people in the UK are affected by  everyday – ranging from a light buzzing to a constant roar in the ears and head – which can have a detrimental effect on quality of life from problems sleeping to being able to concentrate at work, and it can lead to depression and disruption to everyday family life.

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  may be a promising approach to treating recently triggered tinnitus.’

Read more . . .

What’s that? You say I should bring my partner to noisy parties?

June 3, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

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.

Read more:  http://www.today.com/health/whats-you-say-i-should-bring-my-partner-noisy-parties-2D79731299

Indiana University researchers study cognitive risks in children with cochlear implants

May 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

IUSM Newsroom
May 22, 2014
Source: http://news.medicine.iu.edu/releases/2014/05/cochlear.shtml

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.

Read more  . . .

 

Boston Univ. – Receives $2.75m NIH Grant to Develop Visually Guided Hearing Aid

May 27, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology

 

 

Newswise
Released: 3/18/2014
Original Source 

Newswise — (Boston) – Boston University (BU) College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College was recently awarded a five-year, $2.75M grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to test and refine a prototype Visually Guided Hearing Aid (VGHA).

Gerald D. Kidd Jr., professor in the department of speech, language & hearing sciences at BU Sargent College and director of BU’s Sound Field Laboratory developed the VGHA prototype in collaboration with an international research team and Malden, Massachusetts-based Sensimetrics Corporation.

According to the NIDCD, 17 percent of Americans have hearing loss in one or both ears, and the prevalence of hearing loss increases with every age decade. For the majority of hearing losses that are not medically remediable, a hearing aid is the only viable treatment. However, only about 1 in 5 people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. One reason, according to Kidd and colleagues, is that even the most sophisticated modern hearing aids come with a fundamental challenge: how to selectively amplify the sounds the listener wishes to hear while excluding unwanted, interfering sounds.

Read More . . . .

Sleep apnea tied to hearing loss in large study

May 27, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

Science Codex
posted by news on may 20, 2014
Original Source: http://www.sciencecodex.com/sleep_apnea_tied_to_hearing_loss_in_large_study-134044

ATS 2014, SAN DIEGO ─Both high and low frequency hearing impairment have been linked with sleep apnea in a new study of nearly 14,000 individuals.

“In our population-based study of 13,967 subjects from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, we found that sleep apnea was independently associated with hearing impairment at both high and low frequencies after adjustment for other possible causes of hearing loss,” said lead author Amit Chopra, MD, currently at the Albany Medical Center in New York.

The study was presented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

All subjects underwent successful in-home sleep apnea studies and on-site audiometric testing at baseline. Sleep apnea was assessed with the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which indicates sleep apnea severity based on the number of apnea (complete cessation of airflow) and hypopneas (partial cessation of airflow) per hour of sleep. Sleep apnea was defined as an AHI ≥ 15 events/hour. High frequency hearing impairment was defined as having a mean hearing threshold of greater than 25 decibels in either ear at 2000, 3000, 4000, 6000 and 8000 Hz, and low frequency hearing impairment was defined as having a mean hearing threshold of greater than 25 decibels in either ear at 500 Hz and 1000 Hz.

Read more . . . 

Infant Youngest In U.S. To Receive Brain Stem Implant At Boston Hospital

May 23, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology

CBS Boston
By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TV

Original Article

BOSTON (CBS) — “Hi baby, hi sweet girl,” coos Jill Bradshaw to her 1-year-old daughter Elise, who is hearing her for the first time at a Boston hospital.

And with that, Elise becomes the youngest infant in the United State to receive an Auditory Brain Stem Implant. Elise was born deaf. She could hear nothing. Her medical problems meant a traditional cochlear implant wouldn’t work, but then she was enrolled in a pediatric clinical trial at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Doctors there performed complex and delicate brain surgery that worked. Cell phone video captured the miracle moment when an audiologist activated the implant. Elise turns toward the source of a sound. “I was just a nervous wreck going into that room that it wouldn’t work,” says Jill Bradshaw. But it did work. “I couldn’t stop grinning probably for 3 days. I was just smiling ear to ear,” she adds. Her parents were ecstatic. “It’s so emotional. I love you, that’s all you can say is I love you,” says Jill. “It makes the world a lot bigger for her now than it would have been,” says Elise’s father Jason.

Read More . . .