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Zebrafish may help solve ringing in vets' ears
Date:4/30/2008

ice and rats if their ears are ringing. Now, he's working with zebrafish (yes, they do have ears, which are remarkably similar to humans' ears.) He's been able to cause ringing in their ears -- he thinks -- by exposing them to certain drugs and tracking their erratic swimming on video. Moore then looks at the cells in their ears to see if the electrical firing has increased, an early sign of damage and tinnitus. His early findings show an increased firing.

Then Moore attempts to block this effect with drugs to return the cells to their normal activity. In preliminary research, it appears the drugs he has tested do slow down the increased electrical firing or tinnitus-like behavior of the hair cells in the ear.

Moore is beginning to meet with doctors to discuss launching a clinical trial to test these drugs for patients with tinnitus.

"If these drugs are found to be safe -- and some are already on the market for other uses -- and if they are found to have efficacy in humans, then they might be used to treat an individual's tinnitus," Moore said.

"If the hair cell is not totally damaged -- just beginning to break down, and you administer these drugs, you might be able to prevent it from further damage and interfere with the cells' ability to generate tinnitus," he explained.

Tinnitus finally will begin to get some respect in April when The Department of Defense 2008 Appropriations Bill will open up $50 million in new research funding for tinnitus related to service in the armed forces. Ernest Moore has applied to launch the clinical trial with the drugs he has used with the zebrafish.


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Contact: Marla Paul
Marla-Paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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