Imaging test can identify age-related hearing loss

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A well-known imaging test that radiologists use to monitor blood flow from the heart could soon be deployed to identify which part of the ear is suffering from age-related hearing loss, according to an article posted on the website. from the University of South Florida.

Robert Frisina, a distinguished college professor and chair of USF’s Department of Medical Engineering, is working with the Moffitt Cancer Center to develop a cutting-edge imaging test that more accurately identifies age-related hearing loss. His team is focusing on the cochlea, a hollow, spiral-shaped, fluid-filled cavity in the temporal bone — also called the inner ear — that has a “biological battery” needed to transmit sound vibration information to the brain. Over time the battery deteriorates and it has been nearly impossible to clinically determine why.

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“Diagnosing the state of health of this biological battery in patients is not yet possible. Our innovative imaging approach could make this feasible in the near future for otolaryngologists and audiologists,” Frisina said.

Robert Frisina

The research team uses medical imaging involving the use of a tracer – a small amount of radioactive material that will allow radiologists to see what is going on inside the ear. It is given intravenously and is commonly used during positron emission tomography (PET) scans.

By differentiating the functionality of different parts of the cochlea, doctors can prescribe medications that will treat that specific area as a future option other than the holistic approach to hearing aid prescription.

Frisina is now refining the procedure with an R1 research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He hopes that by combining biomedical engineering and imaging with hearing science, his team will begin clinical trials at the end of the two-year grant period – ultimately achieving this translational breakthrough for people with hearing loss. auditory.

This study is in addition to an ongoing $9 million grant awarded to Frisina’s team by the NIH to better understand the causes of age-related hearing loss and develop a drug to treat it. He and his group patented a new drug in 2019 and are currently seeking to work with a pharmaceutical company for FDA approval.

The Department of Medical Engineering is a rare joint program between USF College of Engineering and USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. It was established in 2019 with special funding granted to USF following its designation by the Florida Board of Governors as a preeminent state research university.

Source: University of South Florida

Pictures: University of South Florida

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