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Friday, 05 April 2019 13:33
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The Coming Revolution in Reversing Hearing Loss

According to statistics published by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 400 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss. When an individual's hearing loss is not too severe and damage to the cochlea is not too extensive, electronic devices such as hearing aids can help them manage their hearing deficiency. However, after a certain point, no electronic device is capable of helping an individual manage their hearing loss.

More fundamentally, it is essential to note that managing hearing loss by means of an electronic device or implant is in no way connected with reversing hearing loss. Until recently, the concept of reversing hearing loss in humans would have been considered science-fiction.

It is a fascinating fact that mammals are the only vertebrates that are unable to regenerate damaged cochlea cells. The cochlea contains the hair-like cells that line the inner ear. These hair-like cells pick up vibrations from the eardrum and transform them into electronic signals that can be processed by the brain. Other vertebrates, for example fish and birds, can regenerate the sensory hair-like cells contained in cochlea.

Aging and exposure to loud noises are the main causes of damage to the cochlea. When the sensory hair cells contained in the cochlea are destroyed, a degree of irreversible hearing loss will occur. And when a critical amount is destroyed, severe or total hearing loss will result. At present, this loss is irreversible.

In 2012, research led by Dr. Patricia White identified the group of receptors essential for the regeneration process of sensory hair cells in fish and birds. These receptors are known as epidermal growth factor cells (EGF).

Recently, a group of researchers from the University of Rochester and the Massachusetts Ear and Eye Infirmary began a series of experiments to duplicate this process in mice. This groundbreaking research, also led by Dr. White, was published in their European Journal of Neuroscience.

The researchers were able to identify a specific receptor, known as ERBB2, which when stimulated appropriately caused sensory hair-like cells to regrow in the cochlea. Via a series of experiments, the team was able to find a successful method to stimulate the ERBB2 receptors, resulting in stem cells transforming into the sensory hair cells required for hearing.

Regarding this process, Dr. White stated: "You have to regenerate sensory hair cells and these cells have to function properly and connect with the necessary network of neurons. This research demonstrates a signaling pathway that can be activated by different methods and could represent a new approach to cochlea regeneration and, ultimately, restoration of hearing."

Although this research is still at an early stage, it demonstrates the first time that sensory hair cells were regenerated in mammals. It is hoped that further research will soon lead to human trials, and ultimately to a revolution for the treatment of hearing loss.

At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we offer the very best of care in the most appropriate and patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

Judah

The Regency organization has become synonymous with the best in senior healthcare and has garnered a well deserved reputation for its unsurpassed commitment to its patients and residents.

The Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers and Facilities throughout New Jersey have achieved numerous industry ‘gold standard’ benchmarks and have received accolades from all corners of the HealthCare community.

Welcome to our website at www.RegencyNursing.com!

Warm Regards,

Judah

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