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Restored Hearing Not Nearing

Scott LaFee on

Even as medical science expands its abilities to regrow cells to restore lost functions, hearing loss remains a stubborn, unsolved challenge. Researchers now may know why. The inner ear's hair cells, which pick up sound vibrations, don't regenerate after being damaged, which is why hearing loss is irreversible.

Scientists have discovered that other types of cells turn into hearing hair cells during early prenatal development, thanks to a molecule called H3K4me1. But that molecule goes away, apparently before birth, stopping the ability of other inner ear cells to turn into hair cells. If scientists can find a way to mimic the role of H3K4me1, they might be able to eventually create new hair cells.

If It's Not One Thing

A new study finds that some men with metastatic prostate cancer are dying instead of other noncancer-related conditions. Researchers surveyed data from 26,000 men with metastatic prostate cancer. Nearly 64% of those who died had died at follow-up due to prostate cancer, but 17% died of causes such as cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cerebrovascular disease. An additional 5% died of nonprostate cancers.

Prostate cancer survival rates are improving, but the findings, said the researchers, point to the need to counsel patients about other health risks.

Body of Knowledge

 

The human fetus lives in fluid but does not feel wetness. It's a bit like a person swimming underwater: They do not feel the water as much as they notice changes in pressure.

Get Me That, Stat!

Genomic studies have become a useful tool to assess and predict cardiovascular risk, but they are fundamentally limited. New data shows that nearly 80% of participants in these studies are of European ancestry, though this demographic makes up only 16% of the world's population.

Counts

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