Friday, May 14, 2010

Hope for the Deaf?

By Kathleen Richards
Fri, May 14, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Hearing loss is just one of the accepted hazards of being a musician or fan. But researchers at Stanford, led by otolaryngology professor Stefan Heller, have recently published a report that may offer hope for the hearing-impaired. They've been able to develop mouse cells that "look and act just like animal's inner-ear hair cells — the linchpin to our sense of hearing and balance — in a petri dish," according to a press release from Stanford's School of Medicine. Since humans can't spontaneously regenerate these hearing cells, once they've been damaged or destroyed by, say, an Orange amp, you're pretty much screwed. Actually regenerating these cells in humans is likely many years away, but the research is promising — especially since, according to the release, one in three adults over the age of 65 has developed a handicapping hearing loss.

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