General, Research, Technology

A method for the treatment of deafness by restoring auditory cells has been developed

According to the World Health Organization,today in the world there are more than 466 million people with hearing loss, and 34 million of them are children. If you believe the forecasts of scientists, with the current noise pollution of cities and the presence of other factors harmful to human hearing, by 2050 the number of deaf people will reach 900 million people. However, these alarming consequences can be prevented by creating an effective hearing restoration technology that has not yet existed. Earlier, it was believed that auditory cells were completely unsuitable for restoration, but researchers at Harvard Medical School were able to solve this difficult task.

At the moment, an effective method for hearing restoration simply does not exist.

The main problem in hearing restorationindeed, the so-called hair cells of mammals and humans are not capable of division. These cells in the body play the role of certain receivers of sound, which turn sound vibrations into electrical signals transmitted to the brain. Unfortunately, due to heredity and exposure to loud sounds, these cells are easily destroyed, which becomes the cause of human deafness. Do not forget about aging - hearing problems in older people begin precisely because of the gradual loss of hair cells.

How can I restore my hearing?

Until now, scientists could not developan effective way to restore hearing and released only all kinds of hearing aids and devices for reading lips. Some researchers managed to get the auditory cells to divide and thereby recover, but the methods they developed worked only on newborn mice, and on adults did not give any result. It is logical to assume that they would hardly be effective in treating deafness in humans.

Almost all medical innovations are tested on mice and pigs.

However, according to the scientific journal NatureCommunications, scientists from the US state of Massachusetts managed to start the process of division of hair cells even in adult mice. A group of scientists led by Professor Zheng-Yi Chen activated two specific genes in a group of mice aged six to eight weeks. Since the life span of mice is about 2-3 years, these individuals are considered quite mature and suitable for research.

And did they know about the existence of implants that supposedly return hearing?

The first activated gene was the so-calledMusa, which is responsible for the reproduction of cells. The second activated gene is known as NOTCH1 and regulates the interaction of cells with each other. As it turned out, the activation of these two genes really led to the division of auditory cells in adult mice. Moreover, the restored cells have created quite strong connections with the parts of the brain that are responsible for hearing.

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Researchers are confident that what they have donescientific work eliminates the main problem that all this time hindered the restoration of hearing in deaf people. When exactly the technology will become suitable for use in humans is still unknown. At the moment, scientists want to test the new method on adult pigs.