Human Biology Helping Hearing-Impaired Using Stem Cells

Discussion in 'Human Biology' started by mscbkc070904, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    This is really cool, I hope this works, cause it would be great for those who have are deaf, like my neighbor. I think it would be great if this goes thru and he could hear for the first time in his life, he's 45 and was born deaf. Great guy, hard worker. Just to be able give him that gift back could change his world.

  2. bodebliss

    bodebliss The Zoc-La of Kromm-B Premium Member

    This, I hope, is only the beginning of a wave of better health to come from research, in not just stem cells, but genetics, and a myriad of other techniques.

    Good article
  3. DrX

    DrX New Member

    If this works, this would be especially neat, since it would be a possible treatment for sensory hearing loss, which is the hardest to treat. However:
    (1) Only a fraction of people owe their "deafness" or hearing loss to a sensory (nerve) condition. Even for those with sensory loss, it is not clear what specific conditions, of the dozen or so in that category, could be treated this way.
    (2) Marrow-based cells that "have many of the characteristics of" sensory neurons are not the same thing as sensory neurons. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to know whether these cells will effectively replace dead or missing sensory cells. Which brings about...
    (3) Implanting these cells would be no picnic. I know of no surgery that approximates this step, other than cochlear implantation, which is a much rougher procedure in that part of the ear (though more complicated in other ways). Progress in surgey should solve this in time. However, even then, it remains to be seen whether there would be any problems with the retention, durability etc. of the implant.
    (4) Last but not least, the brain has to be trained to "hear" the new neurons. This is by itself a huge task, and often considered too much of an obstacle to warrant treatment in older people.
    All in all, though, this looks like a very neat advance for a subset of a condition that, given demographics and our lifestyles, is becoming more important.
    Last but not least, as part of the progress of stem cell research, that is certainly worthwhile!
  4. bodebliss

    bodebliss The Zoc-La of Kromm-B Premium Member

    Very good post, DrX.

    I'd like to say also, Welcome to ID!