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First small molecule targeted therapy holds promise for Usher syndrome

First small molecule targeted therapy holds promise for Usher syndrome

Usher syndrome (USH) is characterized by hearing loss or deafness at birth and progressive vision loss, and is the most common cause of inherited dual sensory deficit. No treatment is currently available to stop or slow the progression of vision or hearing loss in USH3, one of three clinical classifications for USH that are further divided into subtypes and all associated with different genes. [More]
Differences in timing of stem cells turning into cartilage play major role in shaping the face

Differences in timing of stem cells turning into cartilage play major role in shaping the face

Timing is everything when it comes to the development of the vertebrate face. In a new study published in PLoS Genetics, USC Stem Cell researcher Lindsey Barske from the laboratory of Gage Crump and her colleagues identify the roles of key molecular signals that control this critical timing. [More]
Newly developed smartphone application may potentially benefit low-vision users

Newly developed smartphone application may potentially benefit low-vision users

Researchers from the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School have developed a smartphone application that projects a magnified smartphone screen to Google Glass, which users can navigate using head movements to view a corresponding portion of the magnified screen. They have shown that the technology can potentially benefit low-vision users, many of whom find the smartphone's built-in zoom feature to be difficult to use due to the loss of context. Their results are published online in the journal IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. [More]
Mouse model offers insight into molecular, neurological basis of stuttering

Mouse model offers insight into molecular, neurological basis of stuttering

Mice that vocalize in a repetitive, halting pattern similar to human stuttering may provide insight into a condition that has perplexed scientists for centuries, according to a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the National Institutes of Health. [More]
Investigators find tacrolimus to be very effective in reducing ocular symptoms of GVHD

Investigators find tacrolimus to be very effective in reducing ocular symptoms of GVHD

Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School have conducted a clinical trial comparing the safety and efficacy of topical tacrolimus, an immunosuppressive therapy, and topical methylprednisolone, a steroid medication, in patients with ocular graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) -- a complication associated with allogeneic bone marrow transplants in which the transplanted immune system's cells attack certain parts of the recipient's body, including the cornea and ocular surface. [More]
Research suggests new pathway for preventing optic nerve damage in KPro recipients

Research suggests new pathway for preventing optic nerve damage in KPro recipients

Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School have identified inflammatory factors that cause optic neuropathy in the back of the eye following implantation of a keratoprosthesis (KPro) — similar to what glaucoma patients experience, without the rise of pressure in the eye — and have shown that blocking one of those factors, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa), successfully halts the development of optic nerve damage in a mouse model. [More]

NIH-funded study aims to improve health of deaf and hard-of-hearing population

Improving the health of the deaf and hard-of-hearing population through accessible patient-reported outcome measures is the goal of a $1.6 million National Institutes of Health-funded study, led by Rochester Institute of Technology. [More]
Moderate drinking not linked to longer life, study shows

Moderate drinking not linked to longer life, study shows

Many people believe a glass of wine with dinner will help them live longer and healthier--but the scientific evidence is shaky at best, according to a new research analysis. [More]
Anticancer drug restores hearing in neurofibromatosis patients

Anticancer drug restores hearing in neurofibromatosis patients

In a small clinical study with an anticancer drug that halts blood vessel growth, a handful of people with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) and hearing loss had restoration of hearing. [More]
Enhanced diet helps slow progression of hereditary deafness

Enhanced diet helps slow progression of hereditary deafness

An enhanced diet helped reduce hearing loss in mice with the genetic mutation most commonly responsible for childhood deafness, new research suggests. [More]
Researchers reveal link between mitochondrial dysfunction and Fuchs' Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy

Researchers reveal link between mitochondrial dysfunction and Fuchs' Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy

Researchers at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear have shown a link between mitochondrial dysfunction in corneal endothelial cells and the development of Fuchs' Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy. [More]
ARV drug atazanavir may have significant effects on infant development

ARV drug atazanavir may have significant effects on infant development

The antiretroviral (ARV) drug atazanavir—sometimes included in treatments to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy—may have small but significant effects on infant development, reports a study in the journal AIDS, official journal of the International AIDS Society. [More]
U of M, RIT awarded $3 million grant to assess health information between deaf and hearing individuals

U of M, RIT awarded $3 million grant to assess health information between deaf and hearing individuals

Health information can be difficult to understand for anyone, but it is especially difficult for deaf individuals who may struggle with information and health care marginalization. This is a population with high rates of inadequate health literacy and health disparities. A grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders is looking to change that. [More]
Researchers reveal direct link between Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss

Researchers reveal direct link between Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss

Researchers at King's College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. [More]
Brain's natural plasticity could compensate for inner ear damage

Brain's natural plasticity could compensate for inner ear damage

Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School have described, for the first time, the adult brain's ability to compensate for a near-complete loss of auditory nerve fibers that link the ear to the brain. The findings, published in the current issue of Neuron, suggest that the brain's natural plasticity can compensate for inner ear damage to bring sound detection abilities back within normal limits; however, it does not recover speech intelligibility. [More]
Nearly 3.3 million children in U.S. have dizziness or balance problem

Nearly 3.3 million children in U.S. have dizziness or balance problem

More than 1 in 20 (nearly 3.3 million) children between the ages of 3 and 17 have a dizziness or balance problem, according to an analysis of the first large-scale, nationally representative survey of these problems in U.S. children. [More]
Three new genetic associations identified for primary open angle glaucoma

Three new genetic associations identified for primary open angle glaucoma

Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have led an international effort to identify three genetic associations that influence susceptibility to primary open angle glaucoma -- the most common form of adult onset glaucoma and the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. [More]
Body can control pathogen-induced inflammatory response, find Georgia State researchers

Body can control pathogen-induced inflammatory response, find Georgia State researchers

The body can control inflammatory response triggered by invasions of microbial pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, a discovery that could lead to the development of new therapeutic agents for uncontrolled inflammation, according to researchers at Georgia State University. [More]
New study reveals why some vestibular schwannomas cause hearing loss

New study reveals why some vestibular schwannomas cause hearing loss

A new study at Massachusetts Eye and Ear showed that in some cases of vestibular schwannoma, a sometimes-lethal tumor often associated with neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2), secretions from the tumor contain toxic molecules that damage the inner ear. [More]
Study on myosins may lead to therapies for muscle diseases, cancers

Study on myosins may lead to therapies for muscle diseases, cancers

Understanding how tiny molecular motors called myosins use energy to fuel biological tasks like contracting muscles could lead to therapies for muscle diseases and cancers, says a team of researchers led by Penn State College of Medicine scientists. [More]
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