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Vitamin and Magnesium Pills May Prevent Hearing Loss Caused by Loud Noise; Perhaps Restore Hearing Also

News Release : Dec 28, 2008  Staff - ScienceDaily

"If we can even see 50 percent of the effectiveness in humans that we saw in our animal trials, we will have an effective treatment that will very significantly reduce noise-induced hearing impairment in humans. That would be a remarkable dream."

Researchers and physicians at the University of Michigan Kresge Hearing Research Institute are hoping to reverse, with a cocktail of vitamins and the mineral magnesium that has shown promise as a possible way to prevent hearing loss caused by loud noises. The nutrients were successful in laboratory tests, and now researchers are testing whether humans will benefit as well.

Dr. Green"The prevention of noise induced hearing loss is key," says Glenn E. Green, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology at the U-M Health System and director of the U-M Children's Hearing Laboratory. "When we can't prevent noise-induced hearing loss through screening programs and use of hearing protection, then we really need to come up with some way of protecting people who are still going to have noise exposure. My hope is that this medication will give people a richer, fuller life."

The combination of vitamins A, C and E, plus magnesium, is given in pill form to patients who are participating in the research. Developed at the U-M Kresge Hearing Research Institute, the medication, called AuraQuell, is designed to be taken before a person is exposed to loud noises. In earlier testing at U-M on guinea pigs, the combination of the four micronutrients blocked about 80 percent of the noise-induced hearing impairment.

Now, AuraQuell is being tested in a set of fourmultinational human clinical trials: military trials in Sweden and Spain, an industrial trial in Spain, and a trial involving students at the University of Florida who listen to music at high volumes on their iPods and other PDAs, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"If we can even see 50 percent of the effectiveness in humans that we saw in our animal trials, we will have an effective treatment that will very significantly reduce noise-induced hearing impairment in humans. That would be a remarkable dream," says co-lead researcher Josef M. Miller, Ph.D., the Lynn and Ruth Townsend Professor of Communication Disorders and director of the Center for Hearing Disorders at the U-M Department of Otolaryngology's Kresge Hearing Research Institute.

"Not only is it an enormous factor in quality of life for the individual affected, in cost to society for health care and compensation," Miller says, "but it fundamentally compromises the effectiveness of our military at this time." Miller has launched a U-M startup company called OtoMedicine, which holds the license to develop the vitamin-and-magnesium pill for human application.







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