Wednesday, 19 June 2019

A cure for Tinnitus?

Healthcare professional performing an ear exam on a patient. Please view all images from this series along with other
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.’

Tips for the non-Deaf.

Unsure if using sign as primary access means in vision is applicable?  You can understand the inclusion aspect but relevance needs to be considered too, as we don't use sign language as a primary communication format.  Just because a minority do is lacking relevance and reality.  Thus, awareness.  deaf and Deaf are the reality and regardless of inclusive approaches that is still a fact and should be recognised.  It's not discriminating to accept that reality.

Listening & Speaking, the deaf escape route.

You don't need to be defined by sign.   A charity working to give deaf children and babies the opportunity to listen and speak as equals alongside their hearing peers has received funding for therapy sessions to keep up with demand in London. 

Ernie and his parents John and Chrissi joined AVUK’s programme when he was seven months old. He is now 12 and thriving at mainstream school. The grant means more children like Ernie will have the opportunity to listen and speak like their hearing peers, and have an equal start at school. Auditory Verbal UK, based in Southwark, has received £135,000 of funding from City Bridge Trust, the City Corporation’s charitable funder, to increase the provision of Auditory Verbal therapy (AVT) for deaf children in the capital. 

The therapy helps children develop listening and spoken language skills. By working with preschool children, the charity aims to ensure they have an equal start at school. The funding will allow the charity to offer AVT to more deaf children in the capital whose families may otherwise have missed out due to the cost of treatment. Auditory Verbal UK’s bursary scheme aims to make therapy affordable to all families of deaf children regardless of their financial situation. AVT involves teaching deaf children, who use hearing aids and cochlear implants, to listen and speak. 

The charity believes that, without effective support, deaf children acquire language skills at a much slower rate than their hearing peers. This can mean starting primary school with language skills of a much younger peer, and resulting in lower grades, reduced employment prospects, isolation and poor mental health.