Building Blocks: Hearing Hairs Restored

By Lacy SchleyMay 9, 2017 12:00 AM
Inner-ear hair cells, seen here via scanning electron micrograph, become swollen and damaged due to age-related degeneration. (Credit: Goran Bredberg/Science Source)


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Tiny hairs in our inner ears, called cochlear hair cells, are vital to our natural perception of sound, and once we lose them, we don’t grow them back. But scientists published in Cell Reports that they’ve discovered a way to regenerate those cells in mouse, primate and human tissue samples. After exposing supporting cells — cells that can create new cochlear hairs — to a specialized drug mixture, the team saw significant new hair cell growth.

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