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Hearing loss is common after infant heart surgery

Early hearing evaluation is crucial in surgery patients

Children who have heart surgery as infants are at risk for hearing loss, coupled with associated risks for language, attention and cognitive problems, by age four. In a single-center group of 348 preschoolers who survived cardiac surgery, researchers found hearing loss in about 21 percent, a rate 20 times higher than is found in the general population.

The researchers recommend that children who undergo heart surgery have their hearing evaluated by age 24 to 30 months, to increase their chances of receiving timely medical intervention. The study appeared in the January 2017 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

"Children born with life-threatening heart defects require a great deal of sophisticated care before and after surgery," said study leader Nancy B. Burnham, RN, MSN, CRNP, a nurse-practitioner in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). "This study reminds healthcare providers not to overlook hearing evaluations, because early detection and intervention can reduce later problems in neurodevelopment."

The researchers performed their analysis as part of a prospective observational study of neurodevelopmental outcomes in preschool-aged children who underwent infant surgery at CHOP for congenital heart defects. The study cohort was 348 children who had a comprehensive neurodevelopmental evaluation at age four between 2003 and 2008. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, February 15, 2018


American Tinnitus Association: Patient Roadmap

Navigating the healthcare system can be difficult, especially when dealing with a condition like tinnitus that lacks a definitive cure and differs between patients. The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) developed a Patient Roadmap to help people find the best approach for their tinnitus.

The 2-page Patient Roadmap is suitable both for those with recent sudden-onset tinnitus and those with a history of tinnitus that is becoming bothersome and has not previously or recently been addressed.

Download your copy here.

Source: The Hearing Journal, January 2018


New images reveal how the ear's sensory hairs take shape 

To pick up these sounds, tiny hair-like filaments in the inner ear must be packed into precisely arranged bundles, all facing the same direction (top). Researchers identified a protein essential to this process.Our ears are exquisite detection instruments, capable of discerning a whisper or distinct notes of music within a symphony. To pick up these sounds, tiny hair-like filaments in the inner ear must be packed into precisely arranged bundles, all facing the same direction. Images of the normal, tidy architecture of these bundles on cells within the cochlea, the inner ear structure responsible for hearing, were captured by researchers in A. James Hudspeth's lab at The Rockefeller University (top image). This is part of an effort to understand how these hair bundles are constructed and aligned. Together with a collaborator at The Jackson Laboratory, they have recently identified a molecule that coordinates this process, a discovery that helps explain an important stage in the development of our sense of hearing.

Scientists already knew that a molecular blueprint guides the formation of upside-down V-shaped bundles on the surface of inner ear cells that detect sound, motion, and spatial orientation. While investigating how cells draw up these blueprints, Kimberly Siletti, a graduate student in the lab, found evidence implicating a protein called Daple. It was already known to interact with a so-called compass structure, ensuring that the V-shape bundles are aligned properly to catch sound propagating through the cochlea. Continue reading

EurekAlert, February 9, 2018 (retrieved February 13, 2018)


Hearing loss linked to poor nutrition in early childhood, study suggests

Both acute and chronic forms of undernutrition in the preschool years are associated with hearing impairment later in life

Young adults who were undernourished as preschool children were approximately twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss as their better- nourished peers, a new study suggests. The study, led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed the relationship between the hearing of more than 2,200 young adults in Nepal and their nutritional levels as children 16 years earlier. The findings suggest that nutritional interventions in South Asia could help prevent hearing loss, a condition which currently affects an estimated 116 million young people in the region.

The study was published February 7 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Hearing loss is the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide, and an estimated 80 percent of affected individuals live in low- and middle-income countries. Prevalence estimates of hearing impairment among children and young adults in South Asia range from 14 to 28 percent of the population.

"Our findings should help elevate hearing loss as a still-neglected public health burden, and one that nutrition interventions in early childhood might help prevent," says Keith West Jr., a professor of International Health at the Bloomberg School and the principal investigator of the study. The lead author was Susan Emmett, MD, MPH, an otolaryngologist who conducted the analysis and wrote the paper as a postdoctoral fellow at the Bloomberg School's Center for Human Nutrition. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, February 8, 2018 (retrieved February 12, 2017)


Molecular similarities found between autism, schizophrenia & bipolar disorder

A breakthrough study has, for the first time, generated unique molecular profiles for several psychiatric disorders by examining RNA in brain tissue samples from 700 deceased subjects. The novel research has revealed fascinating physical similarities, and differences, in the patterns of gene expression across disorders including autism and schizophrenia.

The old mind/body binary still persists in some areas of medicine, particularly in the field of psychiatry, which is still primarily driven diagnostically by behavior and not pathology. Despite a strong body of growing research uncovering the genetic foundations for many psychiatric conditions, a team of researchers set out to investigate if it was possible to determine a pathological signature for some disorders of the mind.

The focus of the research was on RNA, the molecules that are key to gene expression, showing when a gene is switched on or off. The team studied 700 cerebral cortical samples from deceased subjects with autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and alcoholism. A large, healthy control group was also included in the study, along with an additional 197 samples from subjects with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) acting as a non-neural comparison. Continue reading

Source: New Atlas, February 9, 2018