DR. KIM'S JOURNAL

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Entries in genetics (1)

Thursday
Jan072010

Two recent research studies with mice that might tell us a little more about age-related hearing loss

The first study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It reported that age-related hearing loss starts with oxidative stress brought on by free radicals. This stress triggers cell death. In some mice, this age-related hearing loss did not occur because they lacked the Bak gene which mice normally have and which plays a role in the cell death. If this oxidative stress could be prevented, it may lead to ways to prevent hearing loss due to age. Another article about this study appears online at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health website.
 
The second study was published in Neurobiology of Aging. In this study, two strains of mice were interbred. The cross-breeding produced a new strain of mice that both breeds well and hears well into old age. This strain mirrors the 5% of humans that have "golden ears" that function well into old age. This should help scientists understand more about how a person's hearing changes with age. Another article about this study appears in Scientific American.