Inner Ear Biology

Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Category archives for Inner Ear Biology

Well ear plugs seem to be the answer to all our hearing-loss woes, according to this short new piece I came across on CNN. The author suggests wearing earplugs during incredibly noisy tasks as well as everyday ones, which is ok, but rather unrealistic. Who’s really going to drop hundreds on custom ear-plugs, or wear…

A recent New Scientist article (March 2007) does a pretty decent job summarizing the current state of hair cell regeneration in mammals, including the work coming out of my lab. May require a subscription or institutional access. Here’s a few of the figures from the article that I thought weren’t half bad (in a popup…

This vaccine wasn’t meant to prevent ear infections per se, but has had the welcome side effect of doing just that (for more on ear infections, go here). Pharmaceutical company Wyeth developed the vaccine PCV7 (marketed in the US under Prevnar) to ward off common bacterial infections, and has been around since 2000. However, children…

The first “smart” robotic micro-drill has been used on a handful of patients in the UK, with very positive outcomes. It was developed by Dr. Peter Brett from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Aston Univ. and first used in surgery by an ear, nose, and throat doctor who found the drill useful…

As I’ve mentioned before, my research and my lab focuses on the delivery of genes to the inner ear to repair or reverse deafness. One potential method for getting these genes into surviving cells is to insert them into a modified virus which infects the healthy inner ear cells. Following infection, the cells produce the…

Bob Abu sent me this really amazing website on inner ear biology and morphology. Its got some really impressive SEM pictures and very informative descriptions of the anatomy of the cochlea. I’d suggest checking it out. Cross-section of the sensory portion of the cochlea (the organ of Corti.)

Ear Protein Powered Space Suits?

NASA loves to use weird science to make useful stuff…..even proteins found in the inner ear, in the hair cells to be exact. The protein is called prestin, which is the motor protein on hair cells, which may also find a new use powering space suits. If prestin is combined with electricity-producing microbes (geobacter) in…

Promenade ‘Round the Cochlea

A great learning tool online is Promenade ‘Round the Cochlea, which is in both French and English. I’ve just been swamped during the conference, but my presentation went great yesterday and I got lots of feedback to keep me busy with experiments forever and ever Ramen. Anyway, check out the app, as it does a…

What Does a Whale’s Ear Look Like?

This week I’ve been talking a bit about deafness and human hearing. A human cochlea is tiny, and is located in a bony stucture near in the skull called the bulla of the temporal bone. The temporal bone is oft said to be the hardest bone in the body. Predictably, almost all other mammals share…

Yeah, I know what you must be thinking: What a weird and ridiculous title. However, trust me, it actually does make sense. In yesterday’s basic concepts post on Hearing, I explained that sound is transduced in the inner ear by hair cells in the cochlea. Specifically, that the deflection of hair cells’ “hairs” (the stereocillia)…