Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Deaf Mice = SCIENCE!

Would you want to be deaf? I wouldn't. I mean, I'm watching the Amazing Race this season, and that deaf kid's doing a pretty good job (probably better than I'd do on the race--those hillbillies from Virginia were more my speed), but I'm pretty happy being able to hear things.

Now, what if someone wanted to trade a little bit of your hearing in exchange for more damage-resistant ears? You wouldn't be able to pick up small noises or soft whispers, but you'd be able to attend rock concert after rock concert without needing earplugs.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have found that the ear has a mechanism that protects you against hearing loss. You don't need to go partially deaf to take advantage of it, either, it's just how they proved that it existed.

They messed around with this ear system that limits just how much sound mice could hear, and the ones that retained their full hearing were more susceptible to permanent hearing damage when exposed to loud noises. The ones that heard less also suffered less damage. In theory, by manipulating this system (or at least understanding more about how it works), we could figure out how to listen to loud music at clubs and still be able to hear properly the next day. Sign me up!

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1 comment:


Johns Hopkins. Lacrosse. No football of any note.

The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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