I'm happy all these 'lab rats' gerbils and guinea-pigs, are being cured of hearing loss issues, but, when are they going to start on us?
A cure for tinnitus could come in the form of a pill following a breakthrough by a scientist. The debilitating condition was stopped in mice by blocking a protein that fuels brain inflammation. The US team of scientist are hopeful it will lead to a gene therapy to combat ringing in the ears and other hearing loss disorders.
About one in 10 people in the UK suffer from tinnitus which can cause stress, sleep difficulties, anxiety and hearing loss. The condition is often linked with Meniere’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and depression. However, it is not known how it develops, and there is no cure. The study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, suggests it is caused by a molecule called TNF-A (tumour necrosis factor alpha) that disrupts communication between neurons.
Blocking it pharmacologically also prevented tinnitus in lab rodents that developed the condition after being exposed to loud noise for two hours. This is what tinnitus sounds like Play Video Loaded: 0% 0:00Progress: 0% PlayMute Current Time 0:00 / Duration Time 3:21 Fullscreen The findings suggest neuro-inflammation may be a therapeutic target for treating tinnitus and other hearing problems, said the researchers. Study co-author Professor Shaowen Bao said: ‘Genetic knock out of TNF-A or pharmacologically blocking its expression prevented neuro-inflammation and ameliorated the behaviour associated with tinnitus in mice with noise-induced hearing loss.’