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How Nasal Stem Cells Might Prevent Childhood Deafness

Medical News Today

Sensorineural hearing loss is a type of deafness that generally begins in childhood, a condition that results from hearing cells in the cochlea losing their function. The hearing loss that occurs can often slow the development of the child and possibly cause speech and language problems to develop.

Fortunately, Australian scientists have discovered a possible way to restore or reverse this condition. It has been shown in mice that injecting nasal stem cells into the inner ear can effectively reverse the condition during early onset hearing loss. The stem cells release signaling factors that help preserve the function of the cochlear cells.

“We are exploring the potential of stem cells to prevent or restore hearing loss in people,” said project leader Dr Sharon Oleskevich. “We are encouraged by our initial findings, because all the mice injected with stem cells showed improved hearing in comparison with those given a sham injection. Roughly half of the mice did very well indeed, although it is important to note that hearing was not completely restored to normal hearing levels.”

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