New Study Shows That Single-Sided Deafness Could Potentially Be Cured

Monday, 16 May 2016 - 1:27PM
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Monday, 16 May 2016 - 1:27PM
New Study Shows That Single-Sided Deafness Could Potentially Be Cured
Brain plasticity is the ability of the organ to adapt and change when conditions for other portions of the body changes - such as when a person uses hearing aids or prosthetic limbs. Researchers from the University of California have recently been studying brain plasticity and its relationship to single-sided deafness (or SSD), and what they found is incredibly optimistic.  

Single-sided deafness is an ailment that affects thousands of people around the world, and as of right now, it is incurable and a real challenge to treat in any meaningful way. That's largely due to the fact that scientists have been unable to find any biomarkers (which, in short, are simply indicators of an ailment found within the human body) for SSD. However, it looks like that may very well be about to change.  

In their study, the researchers examined the changes in neuronal activity caused by SSD. They were successful in identifying these changes in both hemispheres of the brain, which could indeed be instrumental in developing biomarkers that could potentially help scientists understand how to treat the condition.  

The study was conducted using magnetocephalographic imaging, multi-modal imaging, and fMRI scans. Using these methods, researchers examined the neuronal activity of 13 people with regular hearing, and 13 people with SSD. During the study, they played the subjects sounds of differing frequencies and then examined neuron activation in both hemispheres of the brain. Those with regular hearing had symmetrical neuron activation, those without did not.  

Though a seemingly simple and somewhat predictable observation, this study may very well aid in creating biomarkers for SSD. That means that new treatments could be developed, and even possibly a cure. That's yet another big win for science.
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