There’s a medical breakthrough for the deaf.
Scientists at United Kingdom’s Sheffield University have created stem cells from embryos to replace damaged cells in the inner ear — reversing hearing loss.
The embryonic stem cells could be converted into workable hearing cells for people born with inherited hearing problems and who’ve suffered damage to their ear cells during their lifetime, according to the scientists.
The breakthrough stem-cell discovery is “incredibly promising” and “opens up exciting possibilities,” Dr. Ralph Holme, a biomedical researcher, told the British Broadcasting Corporation.
But the stem-cell research could be halted by critics who argue that the controversial
Stem cells from the brain could be transplanted into the ear to cure hearing loss.
Often, age and overstimulation can damage ciliated cells that act like small microphones, allowing us to hear sounds, noise, and voices and are located in the deep ear (cochlea). About 10% of people experience damage to the cells in this area which leads to hearing loss. The loss of these cells is irreversible, but according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a group of scientists from the University of California substituted them with stem cells taken from another area
Image by /*dave*/ via Flickr
Researchers at the University of Sheffield have created the complex hair cells and the neurons needed for hearing from human stem cells.
They found they could encourage stem cells from the inner ears of human foetuses to grow into these highly specialised hearing cells.
The scientists hope they will eventually be able to use the cells to perform cell transplants in deaf patients to replace the hair cells and neurons that are damaged in a form of deafness known as sensorineural hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss one of the most common forms of deafness, accounting for 90