Saturday, June 21, 2008

Beyond The Cochlear Implants

As society advances, the deaf society advances with it.

Cochlear implants, widely used at this time, is a device with a few dozen electrodes that tries to do the work of thousands of damaged or missing hair cells inside the human cochlea. Children who are implanted with the cochlear implants oftentimes quit using them usually in their teen years due to many reasons not excluding the following possibilities;

1) Maintenance costs and issues
2) Variability in outcomes
3) Limitations on activities, travel, and diagnosis
4) Social or peer pressures

This comes to looking for solutions beyond cochlear implants. One such solution is the use of stem cells.

Ear Hair Cells Ear Hair Cells

The stem cell solution for hearing loss/disabilities is replacing the missing or damaged hair cells inside the human cochlea to restore hearing and improve balance. And doing it early in the child's years would eliminate the 4 main possibilities and let the child develop naturally. Stem cells has the potential to beat even the best technology available to treat humans.

The risks of stem cell transplantation include the possibility of developing into incorrect cells, stem cells turning into cancer cells, and other risks associated with invasive procedures.

I currently serve on the Patient Advocate Council at the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center situated in the University of California Irvine.

Richard Roehm