Amit Bhavsar from University of Alberta and his colleagues have identified a receptor in cells that could be the key to preventing permanent hearing loss in childhood cancer survivors who are being treated with the drug Cisplatin. They believe that, by inhibiting this receptor, they may be able to reduce or eliminate the toxicity from the drug that causes hearing loss.
Cisplatin is an incredibly effective chemotherapeutic when it comes to treating solid tumors in children, contributing to an 80 percent overall survival rate over five years. Audiologists who work with patients undergoing Cisplatin therapy are all too familiar with the problem; nearly 100 percent of patients who receive higher doses show some degree of permanent hearing loss.
The receptor in question is Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), which is involved in the body’s immune response. It is a receptor that your body uses to detect when there is some sort of issue, like an infection. This receptor will turn on, and start producing signals that tell the cell it’s under stress. Unfortunately, in the case of Cisplatin, those signals ultimately lead to the death of the cells responsible for hearing.
The only way to prevent the damage is to stop the signals TLR4 produces that lead to the accumulation of Cisplatin. To confirm the efficacy of inhibiting the TLR4 receptor, Bhavsar and his team examined zebrafish sensory cells, which behave similarly to the hair cells in humans that are damaged by Cisplatin. Bhavsar was able to prove that inhibiting TLR4 led to an inhibition of the damage on the sensory cells.
Ghazal B, Asna L, Ivan K D, et al. (2021) Toll-like receptor 4 is activated by platinum and contributes to cisplatin-induced ototoxicity. EMBO Rep 22: e51280
If you have a dog or cat, you’ve probably seen their ears moving toward an interesting or startling sound. For professional equestrians, watching the ears of their horse allows them to gauge their shifting attention. Humans still have these same muscles, and even more interesting is their relationship to our brain and how we pay attention. …
Tai Chi is not just for increasing balance; it may also help improve cognitive performance. In a recent randomized controlled trial, study participants who practiced a form of Tai Chi twice a week for six months improved their scores on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) when compared to a control group (Fuzhong et al, 2023)….
The majority of people are familiar with earthquakes, but there is another phenomenon that is not nearly as predictable, and louder—skyquakes. Skyquakes are enigmatic sounds, typically described as a very loud boom or trumpet-sounding noise that has no apparent cause and seems to come from the sky. Their sound is like distant, but very loud, thunder with…