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Stem Cells Turn Hearing Back On

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the i-heard-that dept.

Medicine 101

puddingebola sends this excerpt from an article at ScienceNow: "Scientists have enabled deaf gerbils to hear again — with the help of transplanted cells that develop into nerves that can transmit auditory information from the ears to the brain. The advance, reported today in Nature, could be the basis for a therapy to treat various kinds of hearing loss. ... Rivolta and his colleagues knew that during embryonic development, a handful of proteins, including fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 3 and 10, are required for ears to form. So they exposed human embryonic stem cells to FGF3 and FGF10. Multiple types of cells formed, including precursor inner-ear hair cells, but they were also able to identify and isolate the cells beginning to differentiate into the desired spiral ganglion neurons. Then, they implanted the neuron precursor cells into the ears of gerbils with damaged ear neurons and followed the animals for 10 weeks. The function of the neurons was restored.'"

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Those amazing stem cells (2, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41316889)

is there anything they can't do?

Re:Those amazing stem cells (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41316927)

is there anything they can't do?

They can't keep you from going to hell, or at least that's what the religious folks tell me.

Re:Those amazing stem cells (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#41327547)

oh come on, give this one a break. it's only the religious nutjobs trying to keep stem cells from helping people.

Re:Those amazing stem cells (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41316939)

The embryonic ones? They can't fully develop into a thinking, breathing person, because their mothers keep aborting them.

Re:Those amazing stem cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317003)

They can't do anything useful in humans, because humans refuse to actually use the therapy. It might actually cure something, and that's not good business.

We can cure any ailment imaginable....in rodents.

Re:Those amazing stem cells (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317071)

I think you are confusing what businesses want and gullible people think invisible sky fairies want.

Re:Those amazing stem cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41318397)

No, I'm referring to the distinct lack of human trials with stem cells (whether embryonic or not), and it's relationship to money.

Mice have been cured (or seen very significant improvement) of blindness, deafness, paralysis, numerous brain related ailments, cancers, broken/missing limbs, impotence, and the list goes on. In many cases there were no noted side effects.

Yet we won't try it. Even on a dying cancer patient, because it might harm them. I'm not sure what part of they are dying got lost...

Mice != people, but how can we know the effects without trying?

But if Cancer gets cured, how much is lost in grants, and donations? http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_money_is_donated_to_cancer_research_yearly

It's pretty hard to make up that kind of money selling a cure. Once someone is cured, they stop paying. What they truly want is a pill that keeps it at bay, as long as you take it twice a day....

Re:Those amazing stem cells (1)

minio (1640735) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317467)

Well they cannot repair problems caused by mutations as they also carry that mutations (and you cannot use stem cells from someone else due to immune reaction). That require gene therapy. They also cannot cure cancer, virus or bacteria infections, deformities, schisophrenia, amnesia or cavities.

Re:Those amazing stem cells (3, Interesting)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 2 years ago | (#41318855)

They could however theoretically seed new teeth. So if you were willing to yank the tooth and wait the 1-2 years for the new tooth to grow in, then they could be said to cure cavities.

Re:Those amazing stem cells (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320863)

They could however theoretically seed new teeth. So if you were willing to yank the tooth and wait the 1-2 years for the new tooth to grow in, then they could be said to cure cavities.

Why yank the old one? You could not plant the see for the new one under the older tooth, and have it "pushed out" naturally?

What about nerves? Would they be able to attach correct?

Re:Those amazing stem cells (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 2 years ago | (#41321097)

Baby teeth can be pushed out since they don't have roots but the adult teeth are tightly locked to the jaw and can't be "pushed" out. Also, there probably won't be enough room for the new tooth to grow since the root of the other is in there.

Re:Those amazing stem cells (4, Insightful)

RandomFactor (22447) | more than 2 years ago | (#41321507)

Wake me when the do this with non-Embryonic stem cells. I don't have an embryonic me lying around on ice to harvest.

What? What? I couldn't hear that. :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41316911)

I know, probably not that funny, but it was to me.

Congress will turn a deaf-ear (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41316913)

Congress will turn a deaf-ear to the pleas of those waiting for stem-cell research.

Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41316935)

Maybe they can do something about this damn tinnitus....

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319563)

Hear hear

Deaf gerbils, yes, but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41316977)

Has it been tested on leppards?

Re:Deaf gerbils, yes, but... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317087)

Your "joke" is bad and you should feel bad.

Re:Deaf gerbils, yes, but... (2)

OldSport (2677879) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317231)

You just aren'tageddon it.

Re:Deaf gerbils, yes, but... (3, Funny)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319107)

Has it been tested on leppards?

What's the Rush? This isn't a Fly by Night operation.

Re:Deaf gerbils, yes, but... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#41321295)

This thread, I reddit and facepalmed.

Deaf community will hate this (5, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317023)

Many in the deaf community are against technologies that restore hearing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaf_culture#Values_and_beliefs [wikipedia.org]

A positive attitude toward being deaf is typical in Deaf cultural groups. Deafness is not generally considered a condition that needs to be fixed.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317139)

Many in the deaf community are against technologies that restore hearing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaf_culture#Values_and_beliefs [wikipedia.org]

A positive attitude toward being deaf is typical in Deaf cultural groups. Deafness is not generally considered a condition that needs to be fixed.

but who can argue that it's not a disadvantage?

Re:Deaf community will hate this (2)

dcollins117 (1267462) | more than 2 years ago | (#41318069)

but who can argue that it's not a disadvantage?

I can. I live in an apartment building with extremely noisy neighbors - I believe they are training elephants to dance upstairs. At any rate, I need to wear earplugs whenever sleeping, coding, reading .... pretty much all the time.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 2 years ago | (#41323017)

Have you ever been around deaf people? They are anything but silent.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (3, Insightful)

firewrought (36952) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320293)

who can argue that it's not a disadvantage?

The deaf, apparently. We live in a world of noise, and hearing is a sense that you can never turn off, so sometimes being deaf is a big plus.

But mostly, this is the whole deaf culture thing. Consider that the main drawback to their disability is that it hinders communication with non-deaf, non-signing people. (That's why they need TTY, CC, etc.) Among themselves, the disability has very little practical impact (unlike, for instance, blind people), especially if you were born that way and it's all you've ever known. And of course, like all communities, the deaf have developed norms and conventions for interactions that are specialized to their unique situation.

Got the picture so far? Now imagine you're deaf and your social circle is deaf and you frequently have to venture out into society at large where interaction with the others is always difficult and frequently gets you strange looks, unsolicited pity, and subhuman regard. The insurance guy down-talks you (as if your IQ was 70), and you get tried of folks repeatedly trying to communicate with you by SHOUTING LOUDER or talking reeeaa-aaaallll slo-wwww-lllley when all they need to do is talk straight and use a little common sense [illinoisle...vocate.org] . Do you see what's happening here? Interacting with your deaf peers is clearly "normal" and comfortable. The problem is with the world-at-large.

Finally, that world-at-large comes to your door and wants to "fix" poor, miserable little you. Or worse, they want to "fix" your newborn child: do surgery on their head so they won't have to live with the same "disability" you do. Let that child grow up as one of the others such that there will always, always be that extra rift between you and your offspring. And what, over the long haul, will these "fixes" do to your community but choke it out and make it disappear?

That is very, very threatening.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (4, Interesting)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#41321451)

"Deaf culture" is the reason that the deaf community suffers from severe unemployment and illiteracy. Deaf culture is the reason so few deaf people pursue higher education. It's what keeps competent teachers and administrators out of deaf schools (you know, the ones who aren't "deaf enough"). Worst of all, it breeds fear and hatred; keeping the deaf community isolated.

Deaf culture is destroying any hope the deaf community has for a brighter future.

Deaf culture is a disease far worse than the disability. It needs to be choked out. It needs to disappear. Deaf culture is the REAL threat.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

firewrought (36952) | more than 2 years ago | (#41324153)

"Deaf culture" is the reason that the deaf community suffers from severe unemployment and illiteracy. Deaf culture is the reason so few deaf people pursue higher education. It's what keeps competent teachers and administrators out of deaf schools (you know, the ones who aren't "deaf enough"). Worst of all, it breeds fear and hatred; keeping the deaf community isolated.

It's like any community that becomes too insular... you see the same dynamics with white supremacist, for example. (For instance, both groups frown on "mixed" marriages b/t someone in their group and someone outside of it.)

Deaf culture is a disease far worse than the disability. It needs to be choked out. It needs to disappear.

Err... maybe it just needs to learn to open up. Take some diversity training or something. :O

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41331841)

The #1 thing I try to explain to "deaf power" people... is that audism goes both ways.

Most dictionaries or sign language books explain audism as oppression of deaf, or people who believe that the hearing world and way of doing things is "better".

It's a common problem in oppressed communities to focus on the external causes of their problems and start to blame the oppressors for everything. There's 2 types of racism, thinking less of a particular group, or going the opposite way and favoring that group instead. It's not like only white people are racists... anyone can be.

So it's not enough to call hearing people audists and say they're harming the deaf. We also have to look at ourselves and not turn into haters, not obsessing over past wrongs and always favoring and preferring deaf over hearing. Some deaf hate hearing people... that's audism. Some deaf get angry when their deaf friends date a hearing person... that's audism.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317181)

That is probably an acceptance measure. If you do not accept who you are you will become depressed.

I would bet cold hard cash if there was a machine that cured blindness or deafness in under 30 mins there would be a line out the door. Oh sure there would be those who didnt want it. But I would not bet against a line out the door...

In fact in your list they 'heavily rely on technology'. Meaning they are after ways to communicate. 'show up early to get a good view', etc ,etc etc...

Re:Deaf community will hate this (3, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317353)

I work in Special Education technology support and have talked to some Deaf/Hard of Hearing specalists about this.

A big chunk of the Deaf Culture wouldn't do it if it was free.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317487)

Would those same people then object to removing Deaf/Hard of Hearing from the list of disabilities/handicaps?

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#41318059)

LOL - Oh hell yes.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41318429)

So then accommodation for deaf/hard of hearing would not be required to any more degree than colorblindness? It would just be market driven, and that's cool? No legal protections in the workplace?

I'm a little gobsmacked at that. Wow.

Deaf Culture oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41325375)

Would those same people then object to removing Deaf/Hard of Hearing from the list of disabilities/handicaps?

Actually, a segment of the Deaf Culture community argues that they are not disabled. What is ironic is that they still advocate for inclusion under the ADA, SSI payments and health care, and government funded telephone relay call centers.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (3, Interesting)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41318993)

So, would this same chunk of the deaf culture not mind if someone poked their eyes out?

If it's okay not to hear, it must be okay not to see, right?

Idiots ...

What makes you emotionally comfortable is not the same thing as the truth.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (3, Interesting)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319915)

as somebody who spends a good chunk of time dealing with hard-of-hearing subtitles, it seems a little... entitled for certain vocal members of the community to not accept a "cure" (i've seen x-men 3, i know the issues), but expect placing the burden of making adjustments to fit their condition on other people (necessarily - you can't make subtitles if you can't hear the dialogue).

hopefully this wont be taken out of context as flamebait - i have much respect for the deaf community, i can understand it. but they above all other disability groups seem to be the most political. and as with all politics, it's not always something that makes sense. my wife's worked in disability (and has mild CP herself), so i'm not pulling facts out of my nethers but speaking from experience.

personally, if i found myself unable to hear, i'd want it back as soon as possible. living without music after having lived with it for so long would be hellish. i'd probably become super grumpy and get all political and- ...oh, i get it.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317667)

If you do not accept who you are you will become depressed.

That's not necessarily true. I don't lament over the fact that I don't have superpowers, but I'd certainly take them if given the opportunity. I don't become depressed over my lack of superpowers.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319033)

Oh if you were part of a minority that doesn't have superpowers, you would feel the bitter sting of inferiority.

What if the predominant culture assumed that everyone has superpowers, making them necessary for communication, transportation and the like?

For instance, I don't mind not being able to sense magnetic fields. But suppose that it was normal, and people used this to form a language with which they communicate. Suddenly, you're left out if you don't have this. You belong, yet you don't belong.

What if buildings assumed everyone can fly, so there are no stairs or elevators? What if X-ray vision was assumed, and cars used stainless steel windshields?

Re:Deaf community will hate this (2)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319177)

Oh if you were part of a minority that doesn't have superpowers, you would feel the bitter sting of inferiority.

Just remember, if you are given a choice between Adamantium claws or mutant healing, Always take the mutant healing. [youtube.com]

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

bbecker23 (1917560) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319263)

... and cars used stainless steel windshields?

Driving would be significantly more dangerous.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (4, Interesting)

Antipater (2053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317769)

Deafness/blindness that occurred later in life (injury, disease, etc.), sure. But for people who were born that way, or who lost their hearing too early to remember, probably not so much. Opening a facet of the world to someone who has spent their entire life with no concept of it can be exceedingly shocking, even traumatic. A little on this is discussed in the wiki article on recovery from blindness [wikipedia.org] , but a much more interesting account is written by Oliver Sacks about Virgil, a man whose vision was partially restored at age 50 after a lifetime of blindness (short on time, so I can't a link, but Google should have it somewhere). In a nutshell, Virgil's experience with sight was like trying to get your grandfather to play a video game. He understands what it is, but sees it as a novelty, something that's extraneous and totally unneeded. Worse, he's bad at it, and knowing that he's bad at it makes him frustrated when you try to get him to play.

Virgil was not a happy man after his surgery. He lapsed into depression and pretty much lost the will to live. So be careful when you start proclaiming that people simply don't know what they're missing - they might be better off that way at thsi point.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (4, Insightful)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319083)

Virgil is an anecdote. We have no access to a parallel universe in which a "control Virgil" lives who hasn't had his sight restored. Maybe that Virgil would have lost the will to live anyway. Virgil died of pneumonia only four months after the surgery. So all that we know about his experience is confined to a few weeks or months following the restoration of sight, not how he would have coped in the long run.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

der_pinchy (1053896) | more than 2 years ago | (#41322717)

And to add , they probably only restored enuf vision to where all he could see was bright and dark. Probably the equivalent of someone shining a flashlight in your face all day. If it was restored to perfect vision then he would be impressed.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41321895)

Yes, people are so ignorant... STEM CELLS are only part of the answer. Complex activities like seeing or hearing need both a good sensor and a BRAIN that decodes the information - to actually hear a sound or see the world.

If you partially repair the sensor (optic nerve, or cochlea), you are still in a position where the brain needs to learn how to make sense of the information. There is no medical way around this, people just need time to learn. But if the repair to the sensor is only 40% then the experience can take much longer and be more difficult to pick up. Having less than half of the normal function means the benefits may be offset by discomfort and frustration. People should not forget how the ear is related to balance and hence nausia (some people moving from analogue to digital hearing aids have experienced feeling sick wearing digital aids, untill their brain is used to it). How would you like to feel sick for a year?

Re:Deaf community will hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41323033)

I did not say that afterwords would be a 'good' thing or they didnt know what they were missing. I said that I am sure there would be a freeking line out the door. People would not think thru what was about to happen to them *at all*. For those 'born with it'. That would become a minority minority in under 30 years. As parents would get that fixed before the kid was 2. Thats just the way people work. You seem skeptical? There were people out there willing to not give their kids vaccinations because of the possibility they may 'get autism'. They summed it up perfectly in men in black 'A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.'.

If your kid was born deaf and there was a cure would you be thinking 'oh thats just the way it is he will be fine' or would you be thinking 'hey where did I put my checkbook and lets go to the doctor?'

Or lets say you are a teenager. Wouldnt you be begging your parents to help you fit in with your friends? You want to listen to their music they always talk about it. You just want to have friends because you feel lonely as you are different than them.

Human nature is to be like those around us. It is why we cut the lawn every week to make sure our neighbors like us... Acceptance is a huge portion of peoples ego. You always have outliers. But the majority of people go with the flow rightly or wrongly.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325467)

Can't get a link either, but there was an interesting post on reddit a few weeks ago by a hard-of-hearing teen who had just discovered he had been using crappy hearing aids. Although he could communicate just fine, his bad hearing aids prevented him from appreciating music. Having acquired proper hearing aids and discovered what music really is, he posted to reddit to ask how to approach exploring music. Not sure how things went for him or what music he liked, but he certainly seemed excited about the new world that opened up to him.

Discovering music after growing up without isn't as extreme as growing up without a given sense all together, but it's an interesting anecdote (admittedly more interesting if I had a link).

Re:Deaf community will hate this (5, Insightful)

jbrandv (96371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317275)

I lost hearing in my right ear several years ago from sudden hearing loss. I'd give almost anything to get it back. I have tinnitus in that ear so bad it almost hurts sometimes. Plus you have no idea how frustrating it is to hear a sound and NOT be able to tell where it came from. PLEASE fix it!

Re:Deaf community will hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319599)

im deaf for my whole life and i want to have my ears back so i can happy hear anything INCLUDING the music. that will be so awesome! :)

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

jlechem (613317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319637)

I don't have the deafness, but I suffer from Tinnitus too and would also give anything to repair the damaged cells in my ears. Stuff like this gives me hope I might actually get cured of this some day.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41321399)

One of my mother's ex-boyfriends used to drag me around by whichever ear he could grab. I have tinnitus in both ears - two extremely high pitched tones in my right, one in my left. I would love to not hear it again. (I'd also love to rupture that fucker's eardrums, but revenge won't help matters any.)

Re:Deaf community will hate this (5, Insightful)

Tog Klim (909717) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317327)

I have partial hearing loss due to nerve damage in one ear when I was 30. I now wear a hearing aid in that ear. I would love to have my hearing fixed without an aid.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317339)

If someone invented a device that seamlessly granted me 360 degree vision of my surroundings I'd be all over it. That's not to say there's anything wrong with regular old 180 degree vision (ok, before the pedants come out, probably more like 240, but I digress). Just that having the extra perception would almost always be and advantage (and not the 'seamlessly' part, that means no more distracting than my regular peripheral vision, just covering a wider range).

Re:Deaf community will hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317629)

The year is 2027...

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

RearNakedChoke (1102093) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317609)

Many in the deaf community are against technologies that restore hearing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaf_culture#Values_and_beliefs [wikipedia.org]

A positive attitude toward being deaf is typical in Deaf cultural groups. Deafness is not generally considered a condition that needs to be fixed.

That's fine and dandy. My inability to fly like superman isn't a disability - but if something could give me that ability, I sure as hell will seek it.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (3, Interesting)

epp_b (944299) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317669)

I can respect that.

Something that you deal with all your life becomes normal for you. Changing that norm, even for the better, can be frightening and jarring (I speak from experience). I can certainly see how being deaf one minute and normal hearing the next could very likely cause a sensory overload.

However, that shouldn't preclude such research. I can't imagine such an opportunity being turned down by someone who lost their hearing at some point in life.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

GnomeChompsky (950296) | more than 2 years ago | (#41321107)

it's not just that. Deaf culture is different from mainstream Anglo-American culture, in the same way that Latino culture or Quebecois culture is different from it. Deaf people have different experiences from what you do.

That said, I think this could be a great boon to people who are hard of hearing, rather than deaf. They've been raised in a speaking culture and it's not fair or reasonable to expect them to assimilate into Deaf culture without having, for instance, learned ASL.

Also, there's extensive cortical reorganization that goes on when you are Deaf - auditory centres get recruited into visual systems; visual systems get recruited into language systems. You're not just going to wind up finding someone who is Deaf (particularly congenitally so), giving them stem cells, and having them be able to hear normally again. At best it is going to take a long, long time, because the neural pathways haven't grown that way.

The best application of this kind of technology would be Hearing people who have lost their ability to do so.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#41327127)

Something that you deal with all your life becomes normal for you. Changing that norm, even for the better, can be frightening and jarring

I was badly nearsighted all my life. When I was a kid I thought I had a superpower that let me see air (yes, I loved comic books). Then I got glasses, and I remember that evening half a century ago vividly; how sharp and clear everything looked, as well as how bent and distorted everything was. It was indeed jarring, but not the least bit frightening.

Then in 2006 I came down with a steroid-induced cataract. By then I was wearing contacts for my nearsightedness and reading glasses because I'm a geezer. The surgery was frightening, but only because it was surgery; anything could have gone wrong and I could have been blinded. When the surgery was over, I was in amazement that I could actually read the clock on the wall, but it was neither jarring nor frightning. My vision was better than it was even with glasses, which I no longer need.

If you have a disability that can be fixed, you're a fool not to have it fixed.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

epp_b (944299) | more than 2 years ago | (#41352919)

If you have a disability that can be fixed, you're a fool not to have it fixed.

I don't think you are qualified to say that: your situation is analogous to being hard of hearing, not completely deaf (though, I have no doubt it totally sucks). If you could suddenly see after being born completely blind and being that way for decades, I assure you it would be very overwhelming.

You had a partial disability, the people we're talking about are fully (or effectively fully) deaf. There's a whole culture and entire manner of life understanding and experience that goes along with it. Living with a complete disability forces you to be this way and it becomes your norm.

Living with a partial disability is a cruel taunt that teases you with the understanding of how much better life is for normal people, but without ever allowing you to taste it for yourself. I can fully appreciate and respect why was preferable for you to fix your partial disability.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (2)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317681)

I understand the need to rationalize things that way but "The Fox Without a Tail" springs to mind.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (3, Insightful)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317847)

Many in the deaf community are against technologies that restore hearing.... Deafness is not generally considered a condition that needs to be fixed.

Well bully for them. What about the 'few' that would like their hearing back? Tell them to quit being babies and live with it? Nobody is going to force this on those who don't want it, so at least make it an option for those who do.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (4, Insightful)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41318981)

Those people have a right to their ignorant opinion. But no collective has a right to dictate the destiny of an individual.

It is certainly better to hear than not to hear, without a question. Moreover, I would welcome the ability to, say, see infrared or ultraviolet, or to sense the direction of a magnetic field in which I am immersed. I only have a positive attitude toward not having these abilities, because (most?) other people also don't have them.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

spyke252 (2679761) | more than 2 years ago | (#41322819)

Those people have a right to their ignorant opinion.

How is my opinion *ignorant*? I can hear through my right ear- from those who studied me at Hopkins, it's at 150% of the average. My left has been deaf since near birth. I've learned to live with it (woohoo for me). Who cares. Anyway, my lack of hearing is never more than a slight bother at times. But then again, I'm sure applying the cure will be more than a bother as well- more of a bother than it's worth. And this is coming from someone who is planning on laser eye surgery. For you to tell me that my opinion on the matter of MY hearing being restored is IGNORANT, when I've OBVIOUSLY thought/researched/argued about this topic more than you just pisses me off. Do you think deaf people don't know that they're deaf? Because that's how you come across to me.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319865)

That's true. Also in many deaf churches they teach that God chose them to be deaf, they're special for that. Very few will talk about Jesus healing the deaf or scriptures that mention the deaf being able to hear in the future. Many christian deaf are unaware of those scriptures and their reaction will vary greatly depending on their background.

Just another way that deaf expectations and feelings are the opposite of what many might assume.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#41327661)

Very few will talk about Jesus healing the deaf or scriptures that mention the deaf being able to hear in the future.

I'm pretty familiar with the bible, esp. the new testament, where does he heal the deaf? I remember passages about healing the blind, the dumb, and the insane, where's tha part about healing the deaf? And where's the part about being able to hear in the future?

No, I'm not deaf, nor is anyone close to me.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41329717)

Jesus healing deaf is specifically mentioned at: Mark 7:32-37; Matthew 11:5; Luke 7:22

You're right that other healings were described with the term "mute", "speechless" or "dumb" depending on translation so we don't know if they were deaf unlike the case in Mark 7 and the attestations in Matthew and Luke.

Future healing of deafness: Isaiah 29:18, 35:5

There's also the restored health of all people on earth prophecies: Prov. 2:21,22; Isaiah 33:24, 35:6, 65:17-25; Matt. 5:5; Rev. 21:3,4. Which would include the whole range of human suffering.

I added in some extras there incase you have only heard of a spiritual interpretation of those scriptures. When looked at as a whole it shows a continuation of the promise in the Hebrew scriptures that the earth will be restored to a paradise. Such as the promise that Daniel would sleep for a long time and wake up to inherit his "land". Daniel 12:13 Also the future expectation of Lazarus' resurrection that his sister Mary already believed in. John 11:23,24. Of course those baptized in holy spirit would have a heavenly resurrection to rule over the earth as kings and priests. (Rev. 5:10) The earth has to have people on it for that to mean something. :-)

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#41334477)

Thank you for that, time for a little re-reading on my part I guess.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41340995)

That's a very kind reply, thanks for the civility.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320383)

Being against using the technologies personally make sense. Being against those technologies being available for others isn't quite defensible.

OTOH, *going deaf* community will love it (1)

Snorbert Xangox (10583) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320545)

Anyone who thinks that tinnitus adds anything to life is kidding themselves. Constant ringing in your ears, worse with stress or fatigue.

I have much accumulated damage to my body, but my highest priority for improvement would be my hearing. I don't mind wearing a splint for the rest of my life to save my teeth from finally wearing to the point of mechanical failure, but I hate having tinnitus and high frequency hearing loss.

Look after your diet, people - your small blood vessels in your middle ear can get constricted with fatty crap just like your big arteries around your heart can. Reduced blood supply => increased oxidative stress => less robust neurons in your ears => increased risk of hearing loss after noise exposure.

I suffer from tinnitus (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320823)

God bless those deaf people who choose not to hear. It means I will wait in a shorter line.

Re:Deaf community will hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41324221)

Many in the deaf community are against technologies that restore hearing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaf_culture#Values_and_beliefs [wikipedia.org]

A positive attitude toward being deaf is typical in Deaf cultural groups. Deafness is not generally considered a condition that needs to be fixed.

I believe this might be because we have the technologies to cure most deafness already. We test every baby at birth for hearing. Cochlear implants are common. They are expensive, but if you can't afford it there are many groups which offer financial assistance. If you are deaf in 2012, it is likely by choice.

Deaf Culture != Deaf community (1)

awtbfb (586638) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325687)

An important distinction is that Deaf Culture members are not speaking on behalf of all deaf people. There are many, many deaf and hard of hearing people who use cochlear implants and hearing aids. Most of this population were raised by hearing parents who opted for their child to grow up in their world, rather than the world of the DC-oriented state school for the deaf system. Since 90% of the children born deaf have hearing parents, it is not surprising that many of their parents choose an oral, mainstream route. If an insular community that spoke a different language told you that, because of a physical feature on your new baby, your child should grow up in a culture other than your own, would you? It is also hard to dissuade a hearing parent of a newborn when they see an older implanted kid talking and singing - the evidence is staring them in the face.

While some kids in the oral mainstream education path end up migrating away from technology for various reasons, most stay on this track and are very technology friendly. This isn't surprising given the outcomes. Extensive, longitudinal research shows the vast majority of children implanted with a CI in their first few years and enrolled in an oral school (e.g., Option Schools [oraldeafed.org] ) are mainstreamed into regular classrooms by kindergarten/1st grade. Mainstreaming is a huge predictor of English reading literacy (ASL is not English), which as we all know, is important for many higher income employment opportunities. You don't hear about this population because most of them melt into society.

The advance mentioned in TFA is likely to receive the same attack the DC crowd is waging on cochlear implants. They claim deaf kids should make the decision for themselves. This is a smokescreen. Kids implanted after the early language development windows (pre-5) have a much harder time learning to understand and use the sound provided by the implant due to reduced brain plasticity. If they are much older, they are also less likely to be mainstreamed and therefore behind the curve on literacy. Therefore, it is not surprising kids who are "given a choice when they are older" would have poorer outcomes and are more likely to abandon technology.

Having said all this, many adult cochlear implant and hearing aid users are unlikely to opt for this advance. If they are like my wife, they are comfortable with their hearing loss, get good use out of their cochlear implant, and don't see a strong need to change. However, this advance would have a huge impact on newborns and kids still in the language development window.

Can you... (1, Funny)

InfiniteBlaze (2564509) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317053)

hear me now?

Damn! (4, Funny)

iBod (534920) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317075)

32 weeks of studying 'Sign Language for Gerbils' - all for nothing.

Re:Damn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317601)

Well DUH.. You only learned American Gerbil Sign Language AgSL, not any of the other international variations, if you had learned THOSE... then you'd be set...

Hair Cells (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317081)

I need to get the ones on my head to regrow.

Re:Hair Cells (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317365)

They haven't stopped growing, they've just relocated to your back, ears and nose.

They implanted human neural stem cells into WHAT? (1)

localroger (258128) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317677)

These gerbils, are they playing chess yet? Was this research conducted by NIMH? Honestly, with all the trouble we have just getting one person's body not to reject another person's organ after a transplant, human stem cells can thrive and reconnect the hearing of a GERBIL? Does this mean that, if the every sperm is sacred wankers keep the lid on human stem cell research that we could use gerbil (or whatever more convenient nonhuman species) neural stem cells to treat human hearing problems, or maybe even Alzheimer's?

FUND THIS SHIT. (4, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#41317735)

Seriously, just fucking fund it already. Fuck the religious ones that want to live in the dark ages, this is SCIENCE and if it can make deaf kids hear and blind kids see, then fuck whatever piece of paper says it's immoral and fuck the assholes that try to stop it.

Re:FUND THIS SHIT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41318075)

As a church going Christian I (and many others) totally agree with you. We too are tired of the modern day pharisees falsifying religion to obstruct mankinds progress.

As a side note, the last time I looked, "responsible churches" were pro science [1], their conservatism leans towards pushing for 'science' to be validated before it is used without understanding of the consequences. ie: if a deaf person becomes hearing, they will need assistance to cope with escaping the Deaf Culture cult.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaf_culture#Values_and_beliefs [wikipedia.org]

[1] "responsible churches" = not supressing their followers with false interpretations of biblical teachings.

Re:FUND THIS SHIT. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41318165)

It's amazing that you talk about living in the dark ages - when you're so ignorant yourself. There's never been a ban on funding stem cell research, the ban was on *harvesting new embryonic stem cells".

Get your own shit straight before bitching about others.

Re:FUND THIS SHIT. (1)

iceperson (582205) | more than 2 years ago | (#41318229)

It was always funded. It would really be interesting to know if the lines of embryonic stem cells that Bush funded research were involved in these experiments . I'd be willing to bet that even if this research wasn't actually funded during the Bush years it built on embryonic stem cell research that was...

Re:FUND THIS SHIT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41318401)

then fuck whatever piece of paper says it's immoral and fuck the assholes that try to stop it.

And fuck the fetal stem cell donors whose lives stand in the way of scientific progress?

/trolling
//don't actually give a shit about fetuses
///harvest away, I say, if it means a cure for baldness

Re:FUND THIS SHIT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319123)

Stem cells are a no-brainer. What I'm concerned about is the deaf gerbils.

We commit atrocities on creatures that are as capable of suffering as we are. In the 19th century, we used black slaves to test anesthetics and operating techniques. We've moved to animals, but the horror is the same. We cause nervous damage, we induce diabetes and cancer, we break bones, and more.

Re:FUND THIS SHIT. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319535)

Right, we should fund cloning people and raising the clones to provide organ transplants. Fuck whatever piece of paper says that it is immoral, if it can make sick kids better, we should be funding it.

Re:FUND THIS SHIT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41321465)

Yes, because there is no differance between manufacturing parts and cloning people...

Reductio ad absurdum.. yeah.. dont.

Re:FUND THIS SHIT. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#41327897)

Right, we should fund cloning people and raising the clones to provide organ transplants

You're not very imaginitive, are you? Why would you need to clone the whole body when you could simply clone a new heart, maybe in your own bidy next to the old, failing one.

Sorry degenerative neural conditions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317741)

We have a long way to go until degenerative neural conditions are defeated, but the door has now been opened. One can confidently say its only a matter of time until they are gone.

Sorry Alzheimers, you have to leave now. :(
Sorry Parkinsons, you have to leave now. :(
Sorry every other neuron diseas, disorder and disability, you have to leave now. :(

Still not a single proven usable treatment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317851)

So after all the money, time and effort spent on Embryonic Stem Cell research not a single treatment has been produced. I'm not saying that there isn't potential, there must be since so many experts rave about the the research.

Whereas Adult Stem Cell research has been producing results for a very long time. Bone marrow transplants were the first very effective treatments to use this technology.

How about people who can't smell? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41317939)

I was born without the ability to smell. Where can I sign up for that kind of stem cell treatment?

Re:How about people who can't smell? (3, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 2 years ago | (#41318189)

I feel bad about this, but the opening is big enough to drive a semi truck through.

"I was born without the ability to smell."

Just don't shower for a few days.

The deaf can hear, the blind can see......... (1)

CHIT2ME (2667601) | more than 2 years ago | (#41318195)

The deaf can hear, the blind can see, the lame can walk, and we could be looking at diabetes in our rearview mirrors. Just think where medicine in the U.S. and the world could be without the ban on stem cell rescearch instituted by the "silly putty brained" evangelicals!!!!

Please could you put the hair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41318255)

back in mine i have lost a few over the years.
Thanks Led Zeppelin it was worth it.

But the TV on 30 is annoying to others.

I'd do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41318415)

I was born with a severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. Yeah I wear hearing aids and their modern tech has worked remarkably well to keep me integrated with the hearing world. I've accepted the fact of not having that hearing. But my hearing is declining further due to age so there could be a point if I should live long enough that more powerful hearing aids won't help me because my hearing is too far gone. So I will do whatever becomes available for regenerating the hair cells in my inner ear.

Long Live Rock! (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#41318635)

People really jumping to the HiWatt amps . . .

Again!!!

Wait, so these are human/gerbil hybrids? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#41318681)

Are you saying we're giving deaf gerbils superpowered human ears, using stem cells that don't require a pound of flesh to make a small amount of stem cells?

Or did someone forget to actually RTFA ...

How do they hearing test gerbils? (1)

ukoda (537183) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320271)

Sorry but I just can get the image out of my head of a gerbils wearing tiny headphones being asked to raise a paw when they hear a tone. And I'm sure I don't want know how they made the gerbils deaf in the first place!

FInally...hope (1)

MrClever (70766) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320619)

I have a degenerative hearing condition called cochlear otosclerosis [lmgtfy.com] which wasn't diagnosed until after I had established myself as a successful airline pilot; a career I loved and was deeply invested in both professionally and personally. I have since retrained and I'm now a certified (degree-carrying) computer science nerd. Unfortunately, not a career path that was even vaguely close to first choice, but it pays the bills.

Having this condition also means there is a not insignificant risk I can pass the genes onto my children. This treatment could provide a cure for myself and a "get out of jail" for my children. I cannot describe how delightfully excited I am about the possibilities in medical science right now!

GOP and Mother Theresa (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#41322065)

Both are/were of like minds on one account: they have/had an innate desire to make sure the poor suffer, for that brings them closer to God. This includes going blind, deaf, paralized, senile, dying in childbirth...

The wealthy are exempt from this rule, of course.
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