Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hearing Help Through Gene Therapy

With age comes the loss of one's hearing, that is until the near future. An Oregon group of scientists used gene therapy to restore the hearing in mice. The therapy works by converting regular hair cells into cochlear hair cells that transform sound waves into electronic signals, which are then transmitted to the brain for interpretation. As we age or exposed to constant loud noise the hair cells die, but aren't replaced by the body naturally.  The procedure used by the Oregon scientists may allow people to reproduce cochlear hair cells and restore hearing. Using gene therapy in humans is something for the future, but it's possible hearing aids will be eliminated. Still, it might be a good idea to turn down the volume of your iPod. 

(Originally reported by the BBC.)

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