Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stem cells is superior to cochlear implants. Well worth the wait!

I was discussing with my friend about stem cells vs. cochlear implants and how stem cells will be so much better. After all, stem cells can improve hearing and eventually make you hearing! Cochlear implants are just an aid to give a profoundly deaf person access to sounds but don't come close to natural hearing. I did talk about the fact I might get CI in 3-5 years but seeing that stem cell technology is advancing much faster, ill probably get the chance to get stem cells by then, that's my choice. I have made many valid points for my choice. Below are the advantages and disadvantages for your reference.

Advantages of stem cells:

1. Hear unaided

Perhaps the biggest advantage of them all and something I desire the most! Even a partial improvement of as little as 20db(although ive been told 40db is likley) will give me some ability to hear instead of the silent world I now experience. I get excited just thinking about this! It's going to be so surreal to hear something, reach for my HAs and find they aren't there! This is something cochlear implants can never, ever achieve. In fact, most people actually lose their residual hearing and thus their ability to hear even the loudest sounds. They can never go back to HA if CI doesn't work for any reason as CI usually wipes out your residual hearing. Even those who keep some residual hearing usually end up losing it within a year. Hybrid CIs are a failure for the same reason. Save your residual hearing for stem cells to improve upon that! CI never made sense for anyone with residual hearing but I, my audiologist, parents and friends admit it's great for those with no(or very, very little) residual hearing. No HA would help since you need residual hearing(110db max HL) to amplify.

2. Lower cost

Cochlear implants cost $50,000 per ear of which $35,000 is due to the surgery to implant. Insurance may sometimes subsidsize the cost for one implant. Many feel "one sided" with only one CI but can't afford the out of pocket cost for a 2nd CI which insurance rarely covers. No one knows what role insurance will have in covering stem cells, im guessing they will cover deaf babies and young children. They are very unlikley to cover HOH people since they are very functional with any decent HA and they can still hear some sounds/speech unaided. Also there's way more HOH people than deaf people and insurance can't afford this.

Older children and adults can take out a low(or even no) interest medical loan for the $20,000-$30,000 cost of getting both ears done with stem cells and pay off the loan over a decade. Many others may be able to get some financial support from (hearing) family and friends in the form of gifts and interest free loans. My parents will help me afford stem cells as they know how great it's to be hearing.

3. Lower risk

There's many associated risks of cochlear implants, surgery being the biggest risk. This is one reason I am not keen on getting CI. Neither my parents nor audiologist recommend CI for me either. Ive seen people develop all kinds of complications and infections including meningitis(vaccines reduce that one risk) damage to nerves and allergic reactions. Nerve damage may cause permanent numbness to the face, twitching of the eye, loss of the sense of taste and constant pain. The materials, including silicone in the internal CI can cause adverse affects. Silicone is toxic to everyone and should never be in the body! I read a blog of a lady who was allergic to the external speech processor and no one could remedy this so she was forced to stop wearing her CI. You also take the risk of being unable to get a MRI or other medical procedures that may ruin your internal CI.

Stem cells that are derived from your own skin/blood are risk free, your body will never reject your own stem cells! The process may be as simple as having a small vial of blood removed or a piece of skin scraped from your inside cheek or arm. Your cells are then processed into adult stem cells and injected(or inserted by IV) back in your arm. About the only risk is failing to improve your hearing. No residual hearing should be destroyed so you can go back to HAs and hear the same as before.

4. Wide acceptance

Once stem cells become mainstream and FDA approved, they will be accepted by 99.9% of hearing people and by 90% of deaf people. The deaf has learned to accept HAs and more recently CIs. They too will learn to accept stem cells for it's wonderful ability to let you hear sounds and speech.

5. Reduce tinnitus

Since tinnitus is very often associated with hearing loss, restoring your hearing even in part will also reduce your tinnitus. Ive read of people that find their tinnitus more annoying than their hearing loss and would trade away the rest of their hearing if they could live in peace without any tinnitus. With stem cells, they get to restore their hearing and reduce tinnitus! Cochlear implants have been known to make tinnitus worse!

6. Reduce recruitment

All deaf/HOH people experience recruitment where amplified sounds can quickly become too loud. Hearing people don't have this problem. Cochlear implants can also get around recruitment but not as well as actually restoring your natural hearing. I know people who still experience discomfort with loud sounds and are forced to turn their maps down. Their ability to hear decreases as well.

7. Best hearing

There is no argument that stem cells gives the best possible hearing. For those unhappy with how poorly they hear with powerful HAs and are considering a CI, they know that stem cells can do way better. After all, CI is just a tool like HAs but only stem cells is a cure. Even those who don't want to be cured of their deafness and become hearing, they can get a lower dose of stem cells and become less deaf. They will then hear better than CI with the right HAs programmed correctly and even if not, they can always get more stem cells! Cochlear implants gives aided hearing comparable to what a severely deaf person gets with HAs. I hear worse(not in the lows though) than what most hear with CI since im profoundly deaf(at 500Hz and above) but this will change when I get stem cells and ill hear better than almost all CI users. When I get stem cells a 2nd time, no CI in the world will even come close.

8. Waterproof

This is another huge advantage for stem cells that no CI(except for the rare totally internal CI) or even HA(I did read of a waterproof CIC HA, but won't help the deaf) can achieve. When I shower, my hair needs 2 hours to dry so I can't wear HAs during that time. When I prespire, I must remove HAs or risk ruining them. I have to stay out of the rain and other wet situations unless I remove my HAs then of course I hear nothing. I would love to experience swimming(pool, lake, ocean, waterpark) and showering with sounds! It would be so surreal!

9. Convenience

I won't have to deal with any of the hassles of HAs, you won't have to deal with CIs. People get lasik, prk, intacs, iols so they can reduce or even eliminate their dependency on glasses. The same will be said for stem cells to reduce or even eliminate dependency on hearing aids! I like HAs because they give me access to sounds but I won't miss them when I am hearing. No worries about feedback, molds, discomfort, changing batteries, repair, avoiding water, etc. Just pure, natural unaided hearing! CIs are just as inconvenient as HAs if not more so. The batteries only last a day or two, the processor is larger, heavier, more fragile. There's a cord and magnet to deal with as well. I often go without HAs when im alone because it's so much more convenient. I only wish I could hear some sounds without HAs! Those of you with more residual hearing than me are so lucky!

10. Reliablity

Face it, HAs and CIs are subject to failure or glitches. Of course stem cells won't prevent hearing loss but as long as you avoid loud noises and stay healthy, your hearing will remain and last way longer than your HAs or CI. I have had to get my HAs repaired about once every 3 years on average. For most people, their hearing lasts a lifetime with only the usual high frequency loss due to presbycusis. They can get stem cells for that when stem cell technology is mature.

Disadvantages of stem cells:

1. Blissful silence

That's about the only real disadvantage. You will be hearing 24/7 if you choose a full restoration of your hearing(25db or better) I was just thinking that alot of deaf people would go for a partial restoration and become less deaf. They would hear with powerful HAs better than CI for cheaper and less risk, yet still enjoy silence without HAs! Initially, stem cells won't be able to restore hearing in full but will be able to several years later. CI will be phased out so for the deaf who were looking to CI to hear more, they can go ahead and get stem cells or just live with what little residual hearing they have. That's your choice and I respect this, just respect my choice to improve my hearing as much as possible and I choose stem cells because it's so much better than CI.

I may get stem cells 2 or 3 times depending on the cost and extent of improvement. The first time, I expect at least 20db improvement but may achieve 40db. The second time, I would prefer to get down to normal or near normal hearing. If I end up with near normal hearing, say 35db loss I may decide not to get stem cells a 3rd time since any further improvement would be small and not worth the $20,000+ cost when for $2000 I can get mini open fit HAs that will aid me to 0-10db HL. I won't need HAs but wear them whenever I feel like and I can turn the HAs off to make very loud sounds much softer. I will decide when that time comes. For now, I have decided that ill get stem cells and can decide later if I want a repeat when stem cell technology matures.

2. Deaf culture

The Deaf fear the loss of their culture. They could get stem cells to be less deaf and not have to experience any of the disadvantages they can come up with. Cochlear implants didn't destroy their culture, stem cells might not either. There may be less deaf people since stem cells will be very popular for deaf babies born to hearing parents. Itll also be popular for late deafened adults and for the "oral only" deaf like me.

3. Few year wait

Stem cells is highly experimental today with only a few anecdotal reports. This "disadvantage" will go away after a few years. Those who are against hearing restoration which includes most Deaf people today say the wait is 20, 30, 40+ years or even that we might never live long enough to experience any restoration of our hearing. Guess what? It's already happening! My friend knows someone who got a 25db improvement in his hearing at a clinic in Costa Rica. Human clinical trials on children/babies under 18 months has begun! My friend says give it 6 months before we see human adult clinical trials and he will be a pioneer, getting stem cells first chance he gets. I will get stem cells after I see it on the news and read testimonals from the pioneers who are among the first, ill be right after those guys.

The saying goes "the time to hear is now" but keep in mind that those with CI may have to wait a decade longer before stem cells becomes advanced enough to repair the damage that CI causes. For one, you kiss your residual hearing bye. A 40db improvement for someone with an infinite loss might get you to 90db loss. But if you kept your 90db loss, you could be enjoying a 50db loss! The electricity CI uses can cause cochlea scarring gradually. Some fluid is removed from the cochlea to make room for the electrodes. Id rather just skip CI and wait 5 years for stem cells than get CI and have to wait 15 years for stem cells, but the choice is yours. Thanks for reading and feel free to ask questions or comment.

Update! 

Hearing regeneration with pills? They project 2010 as the year for human clinical trials! This could present another option besides stem cells!

59 comments:

  1. Interesting post, and it appears the stem cell technology may be here sooner than many of us originally thought.

    But I still think you might be inflating the advantages of stem cell and the disadvantages of CI. I haven't seen any studies that prove that CI causes scarring of the cochlea because it uses electricity. Guess what? Normal cochleas use electricity too! When the hair cells move, they generate electricity. The CI basically does the same thing with the same amount of electricity, except it bypasses the damaged hair cells.

    Also, if the 40 dB improvement does pan out, stem cell technology may be GREAT for those who have a 50-70 db loss. For those who have a 90-100+ dB loss, they probably will see improvements up to 50-60 dB at BEST - and it's still not enough to function in a hearing world... so you're BACK to using hearing aids. Whereas a CI brings your hearing up to the 20-ish dB level (as is mine).

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  2. hi Duke

    Really great for you to spell out so detail on the advantages and disadvantages.

    My opinion is as follows:

    Just based on my own understanding, most things foreign is definitely bad for the body. Whether The CI electricity and the human ear electricity is the same ? I will just say that every one is entitled to his / her own opinion.

    This is a free world and everyone is entitled to own opinion. As the saying goes, one should agree to disagree.

    Stem cells from our own body is the best but if they cannot be used, then I am afraid we have to use other people's. Marcelo Rivolta and team in UK's Sheffield Uni has for the 1st time in human history announced in Mar 2009 that they have successfully grown human cochlear's cells and the 8th nerve's cells in the lab from foetus of a few weeks old (human hearing cells stop growing after the 12 or so weeks). So if I may map out the the best current treatment to administer (fictitious still but it is my own idea) : it is to keep injecting these lab stem cells into our ears. I say 'keep injecting' because some studies has said that the stem cells injected into guinea pigs died after a short time due to our own cell defense. So we need to constantly inject, say once a week or once every 2 weeks or once every month.

    But if some bright scientists can overcome this, then only 1 time injection will do.

    Any way, I totally agree that normal hearing even if at the mild hearing loss range is better to hearing aided by CI or HA. For eg, the former can listen to music, songs etc.

    The above is just my opinion

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  3. That's a very hopeful projection, but has some flaws:

    No one knows how long stem cells live or the risks of them. Would they grow where they don't belong? What are the chances the cells die or become malignant? There have been trials of stem cells halted because the patient died (in other disorders.)

    Aside from the questions yet unanswered, yes, stem cells would represent a natural, less invasive treatment especially with one's own cells. As such, it could be more acceptable by the Deaf community than the CI was.

    Can you give references to the trials and results that you spoke of taking place in Costa Rica? Thanks.

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  4. From Phi4Sius:

    DeafDude1- think you're pretty much correct for the most part. However, I believe that once they find out this works FDA approval will be far faster than any of us have realized. IMO, adult trials will be here in six months (if not less than six) considering the trials on human babies was announced back in February of this year.

    With the upcoming stem cell treatments for hearing loss, I foresee CI falling by the wayside simply because of the many disadvantages. The robotic sound is a major disadvantage - who would want to have an electronic/robotic sound when a natural cure is just around the corner?

    Once adult trials start I'll be glad to be a pioneer and get in on this.

    A massive explosion in the popularity of stem cells will cause the electro-mechanical surgical approach to fall flat. No one will want a CI when the natural solution via injection will either cure hearing loss completely or at least restore hearing to the point where they can hear normally with HAs.

    Here's the link to what DeafDude1 was talking about regarding the treatments being done in Costa Rica: http://www.startelegram.typepad.com/my_fight_with_ms/2009/02/stemcell-tourism.html

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  5. hi

    It is a open and shut case. If it works and is safe, FDA must approve.

    How we know it works ?
    Easy , simply by asking the patients who can't hear whether they can hear.

    How we know it is safe ?
    If the cure comes from our own body (eg stem cell), it must be safe , right ? Even if not, if we inject just a small amount of stem cell, let them move to the area.

    Seem human trials will be coming ?

    Please see the 1st link on the cord blood coy and the 2nd link on where the idea might have come from (which also answered the 2nd poster's question whether the stem cell can move to the injured area : yes, they do. See:

    http://blog.cordbloodbankingnews.com/2009/03/center-for-regenerative-medicine-cord.html

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/120350.php

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  6. agree with Phi4Sius, is give us much encouragement and hope.
    greetings and continue well

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  7. Dianrez said... "Can you give references to the trials and results that you spoke of taking place in Costa Rica? Thanks".

    See:
    http://www.hearingexchange.com/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=12;t=000654

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  8. hi all

    Just to share, there is a parallel development using gene Atoh1/Math1 therapy to treat hearing loss.

    Just google it and read from there.

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  9. But there are many many labs around the world using Atoh1 for research (like this one done in Jan 2009), so who's know, a breakthrough might be just next week or next month or next year

    See :
    http://www.nus.edu.sg/research/rg29.php (external link, opens new browser window)
    Just to share, to buy atoh1 gene is as easy as buying a cake from a store now.

    So anyone can just buy the gene and inject it into a deaf person who is brave enough to try.

    See
    http://www.audiologyonline.com/theHearingJournal/pdfs/hj2008_06_p46.pdf (external link, opens new browser window)

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  10. My favourite scientist on gene therapy is US' scientist John Brigande who also has hearing loss. So I guess he has a personal goal and zeal to find a cure fast.

    See :

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14614-milestone-reached-in-search-for-deafness-cure.html

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  11. hi all

    On Wednesday, August 26th, the American Hearing Research Foundation together with Northwestern University will present a lecture on hearing, hearing loss and hearing loss therapies entitled "What You Always Wanted to Know About Hearing: Ask a Doctor."

    See :

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/160649.php (external link, opens new browser window)
    wongtanlim3 at yahoo.com 18 Aug 2009 02:29
    hi all

    Anyone attending / attended this ?

    If so, will be glad if you can share what is discussed on hearing loss therapies.

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  12. Nabeel,

    I am really excited to get stem cells. My hearing loss is similar to yours. I get by quite well on lipreading but id still like to hear sounds, especially without annyong HAs. Phi4sius has commented above and says ill get my chance for stem cells within a couple years.

    You also said "Also, if the 40 dB improvement does pan out, stem cell technology may be GREAT for those who have a 50-70 db loss. For those who have a 90-100+ dB loss, they probably will see improvements up to 50-60 dB at BEST - and it's still not enough to function in a hearing world... so you're BACK to using hearing aids. Whereas a CI brings your hearing up to the 20-ish dB level (as is mine)."

    Remember that wearing HAs has many advantages over CI. Someone who could improve from 100db down to 60db would hear with HAs way better than any CI. He could potentally hear aided down to 0db! He would avoid having to get surgery, the risks, pay less and hear better.

    We both happen to have around 70db loss at 250Hz so with stem cells we would get down to 30db and be able to hear plenty without HAs. The quality of sound would likewise improve since there would be far less damage to the hair cells thanks to stem cells repairing/replacing them. A partial improvement alone is already way better than CI for the reasons mentioned above and in my blog.

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  13. wongtanlim3,

    Thanks for the links. I think we will see stem cells used before gene therapy. We are already seeing anecedotal reports of people getting partial restoration of their hearing with stem cells but genes seems to be 5-10 years away still. I may get my chance to get stem cells in as little as two years!

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. Wow..very interesting post re pros and cons of Stem Cells - I will have to read it again to take it all in. I've not read anything much about this 'new science' - this seems as good a place to start as any! I'm sure you'll let us know of any progress....

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  16. actually not new science, stem cell already around for 8 years in USA but Bush admin blocked federal funding, so US is very behind countries like uk, germany, china, italy .

    I just like to share a dream i have last night :

    I went to have stem cell treatment, after doing tests, the attending ent tell me many outer cochlear hair cells been knocked out and therefore I have severe loss in high freq. He inject stem cells into my inner ear, then put me on observation. 24 hrs later, I start to hear a bit, 48 hr, more , and so on and so forth. Then slowly my hearing come back when the stem cell take root in the dead cell area and grow from them and reconnect with the 8th nerve.

    I turn to the next bed and shake the hand of the deaf patient (perhaps he is Deaf Duke) who also got treated.

    Sound too simple ? No, it is reality and is coming on fast.

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  17. First, I don't have a 70 dB loss at any frequency... I have 85-90 dB loss at the low frequencies and over 100 in the middle to high.

    And even if I did, I would still go with CI because of what it has done so far. I don't need 0 dB at 250 Hz if it doesn't help me understand speech by hearing the consonants (k, p, t, s, sh, th, ch, etc etc) in the middle to high frequencies. 20 dB in the low frequencies is enough for me if I have the same level of hearing in the other frequencies.

    It may very well be possible to hear at 0 dB at all frequencies by using stem cells to bring 100 dB to 60 dB unaided, but that requires luck. Luck as in winning the lottery. If all goes well, 20 dB aided is more realistic. Which is what I get with my CI anyway.

    Now I'm not against stem cells - they can be great for many things. And I've been thinking about saving my other ear for that, but how long is this going to take? In 15 years, I'll be 45. That's a lot of life to live in my prime years. The time to hear is now. ;)

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  18. The truth is we don't know the extent of improvement stem cells can achieve initally but it's believed to be over 20db improvement for those with severe and especially profound losses. Whatever improvements I get is great and I can always get more stem cells in the near future as that technology matures.

    The advantages of stem cells applies for even a partial improvement in unaided hearing. It's like "lasik" for the ears by reducing your dependency on hearing aids while improving your hearing. Getting from 100db down to 60db will give me way better hearing than the majority of CI. My friend Phi4sius hears worse than 60db at most frequencies and he was still rejected by CI insurance for having too much hearing. He's getting another hearing test later today and should provide his unaided and aided audiogram, we shall see how he does with his new HA.

    It would be a great idea to save your other ear for stem cells. I am saving both of my ears as I expect to get stem cells in both ears within 5 years and from what ive read, it gives better hearing than CI with all of the other advantages I learned about which ive blogged above.

    I am happy CI works for you. I was thinking of getting CI in 3-5 years when CI technology improves but by then, ill just get stem cells and we will see CI quickly fade away into obsolence. There have been breakthrus in stem cells so it will happen in less than 5 years, there are already people getting stem cells and human clinical trials for children under 18 months has already begun.

    The time to hear may be now, but im afraid that if I get a CI, I won't be a stem cell candidate in the CI ear for a long time. I get by very well on reading lips. Id really like to be able to hear something unaided as I don't like wearing HAs most of the time as HAs aren't so convinent. Phi4sius can comment further on this, he's been researching alot on stem cells himself.

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  19. Even if stem cell treatment works, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss CI as obsolete. Its been around for a while and will continue to be. I may be biased since I have a CI, but in the medical world things move slowly, very slowly. If you're getting stem cells in less than 5 years, it won't be in this country and you're going to pay for it all out of pocket.

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  20. hi all

    someone posted this on a medicinal research for sensorineural hearing loss cure. The US is giving another 2million , total $5m already.

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  21. see :
    http://www.soundpharma.com/2009-08-19_ONR_award.pdf

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  22. Nabeel- CI may be around but it will be such a tiny hardcore market that insurance will stop paying for it and it will become a relic of the past. It's similar to how today's computers completely destroy yesterday's 486 computers. For their day they were incredibly fast, awesome, and the latest thing to have. Stem cells will be the same thing - once it's FDA approved and has been proven to work in a ton of people the CI will be history.

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  23. hello friend,
    I think your blog is doing great advocacy, and give it much importance. For example, he cites his blog even France! It's a good sign;) is quoted in his blog Acouphène France Forum http://www.france-acouphenes.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=146628&sid=7dac0b69b1c25024add653f26324a153

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  24. hi

    If I may add my opinion on CI. CI was invented about 20 years ago around 1984. What was the deaf research then ?

    Absolutely no-one in the scientific community imagine any deaf living thing on earth, once deaf, can hear again.

    So science proceed not on track to find a cure, but towards some man-made device. Also the CI was invented.

    It was very very unlucky that no scientist discovered that bird, after deafened, can hear again. Then 2 teams discovered this , later. So everyone wake up and start to do proceed to find a cure.

    So if the discovery is made much earlier, there will be no CI but stem cell, gene or drug treatment for deafness now.

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  25. "Nerve cell transplants to help the deaf hear could be attempted within five years, according to a specialist who has performed ground-breaking research on the inner ear".
    SOURCE: http://lifeandstyle.independentminds.livejournal.com/692673.html

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  26. previous article http://lifeandstyle.independentminds.livejournal.com/692673.html is 2001.
    Nerve cell implants offer prospect of hearing to the deaf

    By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor


    Monday, 26 March 2001

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  27. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't think CI will become obsolete in our lifetime.

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  28. Yes, I will say everyone has a choice. So need to agree to disagree.

    Any way, CI will not be obsolete. The coys has sold enough CIs (more than 100,000 and numbers rising) to sustan themselves, in terms of providing servicing, upgrade, replacement of faulty ones. So if I am a CI coy, I will try to sell as many CIs now as possible to build a bigger market for my future earnings from servicing, upgrading them. Also if I have scientists on my payroll, I will ask them to publish reports that CIs is better than going for treatment forrestored human natural hearing ? By blowing up the dangers of stem cell and gene therapy eg saying one can get tumours, cancers,

    But for the other camp, where I am, I will go for the treatment , once it is approved by the mainstream health authorities and not performed by some back alley coy

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  29. Hello friend.
    In relation to information ("Update!
    Hearing regeneration with pills? They project 2010 as the year for human clinical trials! This could present another option besides stem cells!"), how do you know that 2010 will be tested on humans. The company will therefore know very advanced hearing protection noise, but very late or very preliminary stage sensorineural hearing loss.
    What do you think?
    greetings!

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  30. hi

    The pill is in phase 2 clinical trial, so I suppose they must have tested on some humans. But not sure whether the dru g is effective for long term deafness or just effective for soldiers who took them immediately after they got deafened by war sounds.

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  31. an update on stem cell treatment.

    According to the website of a hospital in China offering stem cell therapy to patients with various illness, they have treated several patients with hearing loss, and the output is "nod bad". will call to check for details.

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  32. Link please? Please call or email them to get details! Try to get "before" and "after" audiograms and as much information as possible! Alot of the deaf are skeptics or nonbelievers, id love to show them that stem cells has been proven to work!

    What is meant by "not bad" how many db improvement was achieved? Did any experience complications? Are the results of improvement permanent or do they only last a few weeks or months? We need more information and facts! :)

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  33. When people talk about CIs becoming obsolete because the insurers will stop paying for them, please remember that there is more to the world than the USA and many other Health Care systems.

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  34. hi

    On CIs, I must say that it is crucial that parents made a crucial choice whether to have a CI or 2 CI for their babies born deaf. Why ?

    1st, I read that if babies do not hear within the 1st few months / years, they lost the ability to learn to speak. So it is a gamble : wait for a cure (with no firm date in sight) or have CI. If CI, have 1 or 2 ? I have no answers to the above.

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  35. hi

    See below which appeared in June 2009 :http://www.nanobmi.com/images/OAD_Technology_for_Inner_Ear_Therapeutics_June_2009.pdf
    Now we know someone is looking into the delivery engine. There are many other scientists now looking into the payload.

    So promising for people like me that has sensorineural hearing loss with T, where the main stream medicine field currently offered no cure.

    So if I may try to put together what I know :

    1. Someone is looking into the delivery engine. It is real substitute for the virus and the non-virus (see http://www.nus.edu.sg/research/rg29.php) delivery engine currently thought to be most likely candidate for delivering the Math1/Atoh1 hair-cell-growth-stimulating gene into the inner ear. This would be for gene therapy.

    2. Separately there are now tests being done on 18 month old deaf babies , using stem cells from their cord blood to try to treat their deafness. So if it succeed, it proved stem cells do grow into human inner ear cochlear's hair cells and the 8th nerve cells which connect sounds from the cochlear to the brain, which will enable hearing to be restored. Scientists can then decide to use babies cord blood or the patient's stem cells from eg bone marrow (eg I do have have my cord blood stored . Such technology is not available in my time) to treat sensorineural hearing loss.

    3. Then there is at least 1 venture coy which is trying to get $20 million ie $20,000,000 for treating mienere disease and hearing loss

    See : http://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2009/03/06/otonomy-tunes-in-to-biotechs-sound-opportunity-diseases-of-the-ear/

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  36. Dude, this is a very nice blog.

    I have neurosensory hering loss for my left ear. My Audiologist is like a business man, he told me I should immediately get a hearing aids to 'activate' my ear or else it will get worse.

    is it true for this condition?

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  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  38. I called the hospital in China which is offering stem cell treatment. The main idea I got is

    1. they have only treated several (<5 I think) patient with hearing loss

    2. The improvement is not significant to adults

    3. Children can get better improvement, but they did not make hearing test to quantify the improvement.

    4. The improvement is long term, but I am not sure about this since they only started this treatment in a year.

    5. The doctor who answered the phone is not an otologist, and I doubt if there have any otologist in their team. Most of the patients they have treated were due to other deseases.


    The phone number of the hospital: 86-532-80653989

    I have problem now to C&P the website of the hospital. Will try later.

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  39. ok. here is the website

    http://www.ganxibao.com.cn/newEbiz1/EbizPortalFG/portal/html/MessageBoard.html?MessageBoard_action=listMultiPage&MessageBoard_NextPage=1&time=1252374159945#1

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  42. Seem authentic. So China is doing it. I guess it really put the pressure on US. They have been playing 'catching up' in stem cell research because Bush banned federal funding.

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  43. I have a sense of relief.

    Earlier this year, I have e-mailed a few China sites but no response. But 6 months on, there is replies from China they are doing it.

    But need to hear more from them.

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  44. On the concern whether there will be immune response accepting cord blood stem cell from other people: I just learned that this is not a problem at all if accepting mesenchymal stem cell (MSC). Unlike hematopoietic stem cell (HSC), MSC does not produce immune response, and does not require match.Actually, it's quite common to transplant HSC mixed with MSC to cure leukaemia, since MSC could reduce the immune response caused by HSC.

    My guess is, to cure deafness, we need MSC but not HSC, thus there won't be immune problem.

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  45. more guess: It's very likely that people wearing cochlear implant can benefit from stem cell transplanting earlier than other people, since it's easier for the currently used stem cells to fix the spiral ganglion cells than hair cells. People wearing CI could hear much better with more spiral ganglion cells. As far as I know, some people with CI can hear almost as good as normal people. This means people with CI could expect normal hearing by transplanting stem cell even without grow new hair cells.

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  46. My daughter has ossification in both ears and was implanted in her left...her doctor says "Addison would never be a candidate for hearing regeneration due to her altered cochlear anatomy," I understand that she is implanted, but what about her right ear? Has any one heard anything that contradicts this statement. Any help would be greatly appreciated I am really against having to make her go bilateral if we can someday get her hearing back through hearing regeneration.

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  47. My daughter, 19, will be going to China in September to receive stem cell treatments for her sensioneural hearing loss. She has about 50% loss in both ears and we are hoping for improvement enough that she not need hearing aids anymore.

    We will be there about 30 days and she will receive stem cells every 5 days (total of 6 treatments.)

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  48. Please let us know how your daughter does! Which stem cell center is she going to and what's the cost for 6 treatments? Can you show us her "before" audiogram? How did she lose her hearing?

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  49. We are going to Bethune Internat'l Peace Hospital in Shijiazhuang. It is through Beike Biotechnologies. The cost is $16,000 (regular $26,300 but reduced because they need more people treated for hearing loss.) I will try to post her before audiogram. We discovered her loss at the age of 3 and really do not know the cause except that she was very jaundice as an infant.

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  50. How many others have they treated so far and what was the results? Share everything you know. How many stem cells will she get and where will they be injected? How well does she currently hear with HAs? Without?

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  51. They have treated about a dozen with 65% success rate. That is, the patients have had improvement after the treatments. Some have had improvement after only one or two treatments. The latest treated was a 44 year old woman who was deaf. After the second treatment, she told her doctor she didn't need her HAs any longer and she continued to improve. I'll try to find that article and post it here. My daughter hears pretty well with her HAs. About 95% and about 50% without. However, the patients that have been treated have had much more severe loss (even deaf) than she has.

    She has a blog to document the experience if you want to follow it. The blog is primarily to keep family and friends up to date on the process, etc. It is http://stemcells.com/blog/jinger/

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  52. sorry. The blog is http://stemcellschina.com/blog/jinger/

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  53. Thanks for the link, I posted a comment in her blog. Show her my blog and she's welcome to comment on my posts. You can also check my other posts as well. When you get a chance, post her before audiogram. I wish her the best of luck with stem cells.

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  54. Hi Deaf Dude,

    I only have high frequency hearing loss. I emailed RNL Bio and they said that they made a mistake in their article about Chloe. The administration of stem cells was by IV only, i.e. none were injected into her middle ear. I will not quote the email exactly, as I do not have permission. (I am a 47 year old male Engineer living in Australia by the way - if that makes any difference!).

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  55. I wish my hearing was half as good as yours! I have a major loss at every frequency. What's your hearing like in each frequency?

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  56. hi can you please give update on stem cell .

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  57. This is most interesting...any updates?

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  58. concerned motherApril 8, 2012 at 7:03 AM

    hellloo....if anyone is listening....i m new to this discussion my son has profound hearing loss in both ear since m from pakistan our hearing aid industry int so good so we got CI dun in one ear i read about stem cell so i din persue with the other ear waiting 4 a miracle china is rite next to pakistan can anyone update me if any profound hearing loss case has been solved. we dun have any history of deafness or anything i m afraid for his future

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  59. learn to fucking type

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