Researchers in Canada have developed a blood test to recognize hearing problems.
More than 600 million people across the globe experience hearing loss. According to Dr. Alain Dabdoub, one of the authors of the study, and the senior ranking scientist and research director of the Sonja N. Koerner Hearing Regeneration Laboratory at Sunnybrook Research Institute, the number is going to rise by a billion in 20 years.
Currently, recognizing problems related to hearing loss is mainly based on a physical exam. These methods of testing cannot give information about the precise region of the damaged cells in the inner ear. There must be a more accurate approach to identify areas that are damaged.
During their pre-clinical research, Dr. Dabdoub and Dr. Sahar Mahshid, a research associate, created a biosensor test in order to detect otolin-1 and prestin. These are two rare types of protein that can be discovered in a person’s blood flow and are associated with balance and hearing loss. There is currently a patent in the works for the test, which is similar to how diabetics monitor their glucose levels with the prick of the finger to draw a drop of blood.
It just takes “less than a finger-prick volume of blood” to quickly detect inner ear biomarkers to circulate the blood. This allows experts to determine the cellular damage inside the inner ear and paves the way for prospective precision therapies.
In under 10 minutes, doctors can reveal whether those unique proteins are found in the blood sample. The test, which depends on antibodies in order to find the proteins, can be adapted to discover additional blood-circulating proteins in the future.
This research is still in its early stages. More work needs to be done in order to improve the test before it can be widely used. Currently, the test can detect low concentrations of proteins, although it is still more than what would normally be seen in a patient’s blood.
There is so much potential for immediate diagnostics and, over the course of time, can provide more accurate/personalized forms of treatment.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
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