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Will it be possible to reverse hearing loss in old age in the future?
Many people develop a certain degree of hearing loss with increasing age. Researchers have now found that a novel therapy can help to heal the hearing.
In their current joint investigation, scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center and the internationally renowned Harvard Medical School found that people with hearing loss or hearing loss could benefit from a new type of therapy. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "European Journal of Neuroscience".
Alternative to hearing aids, implants and hearing aids?
If you are one of those people who hear less and less with age, there may be therapy in the future that could reverse your hearing loss. So far, there has not been a single treatment or intervention that works for everyone in general, even if hearing aids, so-called cochlear implants and hearing aids, are often used to improve hearing, the researchers say.
What is the epidermal growth factor?
The experts examined a theory about the so-called epidermal growth factor (EGF). This is responsible for the activation of cells in the auditory organs of birds. When these cells are triggered, they multiply and promote the formation of new sensory hair cells, the authors of the study explain. Most hearing loss occurs when either the sensory hair cells or the auditory nerve cells are destroyed, doctors add.
What did the activation of the ERBB2 signal path do?
To test their theory, the researchers examined several methods of activating EGF signaling pathways, one of which involved the use of a virus to stimulate ERBB2 receptors in the so-called cochlear support cells (in the inner ear). Activation of the ERBB2 signaling pathway led to the formation of new cochlear support cells and new sensory hair cells, the scientists report.
Can hearing be repaired?
The process of hearing repair is a complex problem and requires a number of cellular events, says study author Patricia White from the University of Rochester Medical Center. The sensory hair cells have to regenerate, function properly again and connect to the necessary network of neurons. The current study shows a signaling pathway that can be activated by various methods and can represent a new approach to cochlear regeneration and could thus ultimately contribute to the restoration of hearing, the scientists add. The authors also found evidence that activation of the ERBB2 signaling pathway can help sensory cochlear hair cells integrate into nerve cells. Cells in the cochlea help to convert sound waves into neuronal signals that are transmitted to the brain via the auditory nerve. (as)