Stem Cells Use For Recovery Of Hearing Loss

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Stem Cells Use For Recovery Of Hearing Loss

The ear can be split into three major parts; the external, middle and inner ear. The pinna and lobule is the external part of the ear and where sound first travels, before going through the external auditory channel, connecting the pinna to the eardrum (tympanic membrane) ("The Ear..).The eardrum and the small bones attached (malleus, incus and stapes) vibrate, when sound hits them and together with the eustachian (auditory) tube, which drains out water from the middle ear, they make up the middle part of the ear ("The Ear..).The vibrations of the middle ear are brought to the part of the inner ear called the cochlea, which transforms vibrations into nerve impulses that travel to the brain. Attached to the cochlea and also part of the inner ear are the fluid-filled semicircular canals, which help determined ones balance and head position and the vestibular cochlear nerve("The Ear..).

Hearing loss mostly occur when you have missing, damaged or too few hair cells due to genes, loud music or aging etc. Humans have about approximately 30,000 hair cells and unlike animals, like birds and fish, we don't recover hair cells easily (Hobi).

B, Lo, and Parham L. "Ethical Issues in Stem Cell Research." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Apr. 2009. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.Chen, Wei. "Human Embryonic Stem Cells Could Help to Treat Deafness | Europe's Stem Cell Hub | EuroStemCell." EuroStemCell. The University Of Sheffield, 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.Harris, Tom. "How Hearing Works: Hair Cells." HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2013."HEARING RESTORATION PROJECT." Hearing Health Foundation. Hearing Health Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.Hobi, Shin-Shin. "HEARING WITH YOUR BONES." Hear The World Foundation. Hear The World Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.O'Neill, Stephanie. "The Economics of Stem Cell Research." The Madeleine Brand Show. KPCC, 28 Nov. 2011. Web. 15 Oct. 2013."The Ear (Human Anatomy): Picture, Function, Definition, Conditions, and More." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.

Hair CellsThe Cochlea contains hair cells, which move when the vibration from the eardrumm hits them. When the hairs are moved they help create the nerve impulses and are sent through the cochlear nerve to the brain. The brain reads the nerve impulse based on pitch (which hair cells moved) and loudness (how many hair cells moved) (Harris).

The Anatomy of th Ear

Another way scientist are applying stem cells to the treatment of hearing loss is by injecting stem-like cells in the cochlea of the ear. This was done in Japan, where they injected bone marrow stem cell in mice’s, with drug induced hearing loss, cochlea. This helped mice with the stem cell recover faster from the drug-induced hearing loss, than those without (Hobi).

When Does Hearing Loss Occur?

One way scientist are trying to cure hearing loss is through getting existing stem cells in the ear to produce more hair cells. A lot of research has been conducted on animals, like fish and birds, because they regenerate hair cells fast and they hope to find molecules that stimulate hair cell production, which they then can apply to the already existing stem cells in the ear ("HEARING RESTORATION...).

With the ecperiment in Japan the mice did show good results of the mice with stem cells injected recovering faster (Hobi). Also in another experiment where stem-like cells were taken from a embryo and injected in a gerbils cochlear, showed an approximately 46% functional recovery. However the range of recovery varied a lot, since some gerbils recovered very well, while others only slightly recovered (Chen). So even though there has been lots of good results, there is still a long way till the treatment can be used on humans.

In conclusion, stem cells research on hearing loss should still be continued. This is because the benefits out weigh the consequences. First of all, stem cell research on hearing loss has been successful without the use of embryonic stem cells, so this could be avoided in this case, while the consequence of testing on animals is cancelled out by the benefit of curing people, so they have a better quality of life, since the animals don't die and all recover from the hearing loss. Secondly, for economic pros and cons, just like stated earlier, even though stem cell research is expensive, governments will instead save a lot on money on healthcare in the future. Stem cell research and applying it to hearing loss should diffidently be continued, but without the use of embryonic stem cells.

EthicalBenefits:Thanks to the lots of research put into the issue people with hearing loss will most likely be able to get treatment and therefore have a better quality of life.Consequences:For a lot of the research animals are used for testing and creates a lot of ethical implications, since there are a lot of discussions on whether this is right. This is the same issue with using embryonic stem cells. For example there are many discussions on whether an embryo is a human being or not (B).


Effectivness Treatment

How Stem Cells Treat Hearing Loss

Economics Benefits:People with hearing loss cured can contribute more to society, helping the economics. Consequences:Further research and development of this treatment for hearing loss will continue to cost lots of money in lab equipment, payment for jobs and so fourth. It "is expensive. But advocates say it will one day yield cures that could save Americans billions in long-term healthcare costs" (O'Neill).


Ethical and Economic Aspects

Stem Cell Use For Recovery Of Hearing Loss


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