Is Deafness In Humans Related To Problems Of Mice?

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Deafness, which is better described as hearing impairment, is one of the most crippling problems for the unfortunate people. It renders the victim completely or partially unable to hear sounds and spoken words coherently and clearly. There are several types of impairment of the hearing in individuals. Impairments can occur due to intense infections and catastrophic abnormalities in the specific parts of the human ear. Other problems could be the degeneration of crucial cells and tissues. While deafness is usually associated with old age,hearing impairment has also been found to take place in children right from the time of early infancy. The people facing hearing impairment would have to use sign language, though hearing aids can help to solve the problem quite effectively.

Scientific studies on deafness have also discovered that hearing impairment can also be a result of genetic endowments and mutations. But this has not been solidly proved until recently. A new gene has been found in the research of late. This gene is known as the FGF20. The gene is generally present in humans as well as in other creatures including mice. The new spate of diligent scientific studies on deafness experimented with inactivating or disabling the gene in mice, who were used for the experiment. The main part of the study was to study or examine the effects of the inactivity of the FGF20 on the health of the mice. As it turned out, the mice were optimistically healthy and showed the usual signs of activity. But that was not all to be revealed.

The inactivity of the FGF20 gene in mice exhibited a distinct sign ofhearing impairment in the mice who were experimented with. This was further supported by a detailed analysis of the new-founddeafness in the mice. When the scientists examined the parts of the ears of mice, it was discovered that with the disabling of the FGF20 gene, there was also a considerable loss of the outer hair cells from the outer regions of the ear. The loss of outer hair cells have been recognized by scientific studies on deafness as one of the main reasons from gradual impairment associated with old age. Thus, this novel and relevant study explains how the old people begin to suffer from the gradual impairment of their hearing. It is now obvious that their FGF20 genes have become inactive with the passing of age.

The studies on FGF20 gene inactivity have opened up a wide scope for more explanations and inferences about the problem of hearing impairment. One is that the gradual impairment would begin with an adversity occurring the outer hair cells of the ear. This means that when the outer hair cells are lost due to the disability of the FGF20 gene, the person begins to actually lose his or her hearing. Things might improve if the inner hair cells are intact and continue to send the sound signals to the brain. Another inference drawn from this experiment is that the birds and practically all vertebrates are capable of regrowing or regenerating outer hair cells again. However, the question remains if mammals like humans and mice are capable of this or not.




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