Monday, March 03, 2014

Monday's Good News: Keep Rocking Out

I've had ear problems more-or-less since birth, but they were undoubtedly greatly exacerbated by spending most of college in dingy garages listening to hardcore bands. While amazingly never perishing in a fire in a wooden structure with way too many extension cords being used and far too many people inside a place with only one exit that opened inward, I did manage to shred my eardrums pretty well.

Despite being fully aware that such repeated exposure to loud noises in a confined space is basically begging for non-reversible hearing damage, I didn't care due to a combination of the complete lack of caring about the future particular to the college-aged and of course the fact that hardcore garage shows are super cool and I was far from super cool, so I certainly wasn't going to stop doing the one cool thing I could do.

And although I've long since accepted the fact that I'll be functionally deaf by 50, it turns out all hope may not be lost, as a team of neuroscientists have successfully reversed hearing loss in rats. The short version is that loud noises damage the sensory hair cells of the inner ear, which are among the bodily maladies our sacks of meat and blood can't fix on their own. But through suppressing a specific protein, this team has been able to allow stem cells to regenerate said sensory hairs.

Of course, any breakthrough in rats is a long way away from an application fit for humans, but it's a hell of a first step. But hey, human application can't be more than a decade or so away, right? Which is good, because I've recently discovered BABYMETAL and have been listening to their delightfully absurd mix of J-Pop and sludgy riff-metal at top volume for days…

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