Stem cells are pretty magical things, given the results you can get with them. The more stem cell research is conducted, the more potent stem cells prove to be. From regrowing veins to potentially curing HIV and saving species from extinction, stem cells are staggeringly useful and should really be used for medical research and treatment, as far as I’m concerned. The latest research on deafness treatment suggests that stem cells can be used for anything, medical wise, if animal testing can be believed. Human stem cells were used to restore hearing in deaf gerbils with auditory nerve damage.
“If this were a human patient, it would mean going from being so deaf that you wouldn’t be able to hear a lorry on the street to a point where you can maintain a conversation in this room,” said Marco Rivolta, who led the research team at the University of Sheffield in the UK. ”It’s not a full restoration and the restoration is very variable but, on average, that is the kind of recovery we see.”
The form of deafness treated was auditory neuropathy, in which doctors damaged the nerves in the ears of gerbils via medication. Such nerve deafness affects about 15 percent of the population. That’s when the nerves that carry sound signals from the ears to the brain are damaged by various causes. An injection of 50,000 stem cells yielded a 46% improvement in hearing functioning.
If they can treat that sort of neuropathy, they can surely treat visual neuropathy and diabetic neuropathy with the same treatments, right? Or at least it’s a line of research they should undertake given the prevalence of neruopathy in diabetic patients. It beats chopping off Betty’s feet because she’s got the sugars.
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