Gene that causes deafness in old-age identified

Last Updated: Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 00:00

London: Scientists have identified a gene
that causes loss of hearing in old age, opening ways for more
research to develop a drug that can prevent people from going
deaf.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in
the US who carried out tests on mice found that a gene called
Bak is responsible for deafness.

They observed that the delicate cells in the inner ear
that help the brain translate vibrations into sound are lost
as we age.

This loss of cells is triggered by the gene and as our
body has no way to replace the lost cells, our hearing power
is affected, the researchers said.

From the mice experiment, the researchers found that
the hearing power of the mice that lacked the gene stayed
sharp as they aged, Daily Mail reported.

Scientists say a drug that reins in Bak and prevent
people from going deaf as they age could be developed within
15 years.

The equipment used by the scientists to test the
hearing power in mice was similar to that routinely used by
medicos to check newborn`s hearing.

Bureau Report



First Published: Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 00:00

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