4 December 2014
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Gladstone Institutes have found a way to prevent hearing loss from noise damage.
A link between a drop in a critical cellular protein and loss of hearing has long been established, and restoring the protein levels could prevent noise-induced hearing loss, as well as potentially benefiting a host of other aging-related conditions
Using a mouse model, the team found that a simple chemical compound, which is a precursor to vitamin B3, was vital for stopping hearing being affected by noise. Published today in Cell Metabolism, the researchers used the chemical nicotinamide riboside (NR) to protect the nerves that innervate the cochlea, which communicates sound information to the brain.
Exposure to loud noises can damage the synapses that connect nerves and hair cells in the cochlea, which can affect a person's ability to hear. The team found that by giving mice NR can prevent damage to the synaptic connections, avoiding both short-term and long-term hearing loss.
They also found that it was just as effective when it was given after the noise exposure, as when it was delivered before.
Posted by Philip Briggs
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