Genetics and Stem Cells

Deafness - Gene for Hearing is Necessary to Deliver Audio to the Brain

Deafness - Gene for Hearing is Necessary to Deliver Audio to the Brain

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Researchers have previously pinpointed a gene that contributes to human deafness, but now they have more understanding as to how the molecular process works in the inner ear to send the audio to the brain. The study was first reported in the October 20th issue of the journal Cell.

First the researchers discovered that mice that lacked the gene otoferlin were profoundly deaf. This deafness was caused by an inability for the ear to translate the sounds into a chemical nerve messenger which would then pass the sound to the auditory nerves and then on to the brain.

"Study of the genes responsible for deafness can bring new insight into the molecular basis of how hearing works," said Christine Petit of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France.

Otitis Media Ear Infection – a new Clinical Trial for Developing a new Vaccination for prevention of Hearing Loss

Otitis Media Ear Infection – a new Clinical Trial for  Developing a new Vaccination for prevention of Hearing Loss

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Children can be plagued with ear infections that can lead to hearing loss. Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center has recently received a $4 million to help develop a vaccination to prevent bacterial ear infections in children.

Ear infections called acute otitis media can be painful fluid build up in the canals of the middle ear. In some children this repetitive infection can cause hearing loss while others are not affected.

These researchers feel confident in a new vaccine that is set to begin with preliminary clinical trials scheduled for next year. This vaccination, if the trials are successful would help protect against acute otitis media infections.

Stem Cell Breakthrough Does Not Harm Embryo – Uses Only One Cell Saving Embryo

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Best Syndication Health

A California company says they have found a way to successfully generate human embryonic stem cells (hES cells) using an “approach that does not harm embryos.” If the research can be repeated in other laboratories, this could help ease the objections made by those opposed to using hES for research and possible treatments.

The technique involves deriving stem cells from human blastomeres with a single-cell biopsy technique called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Scientists take a single cell from an early stage embryo and then use it to “seed” a line of stem cells. Since the rest of the embryo still has the potential to develop into a healthy human, a Whitehouse spokesman called the finding encouraging.

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