Plaques for Alzheimer’s Might Contribute to Hearing Loss

Summary: Researchers discovered a link between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease plaques while working with mice. Older mice in a transgenic Alzheimer’s mouse model displayed hearing alterations similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s patients.

Hearing loss was associated with amyloid beta protein plaques on the auditory brainstem, and this location of the plaques appeared to be the determining factor.

This discovery could provide a fresh way to monitor the development of Alzheimer’s and guide diagnostic procedures.

Key Facts:

  • Two distinct transgenic mice models of Alzheimer’s disease were used in the study, each of which was created to manufacture amyloid beta protein, the major constituent of the plaques linked to the illness.
  • The study found that hearing loss did not appear to be significantly affected by plaques in some regions of the brain, such as the hippocampus and auditory cortex. The presence of plaques in the auditory brainstem seems to be the key element.
  • The capacity of the auditory brainstem to coordinate responses to sound was discovered to be impaired by plaques, which may help to explain why some Alzheimer’s patients have auditory symptoms.

Questions, shifting theories, and serendipitous discoveries are natural parts of science. Daxiang Na, a doctoral student in neuroscience at the University of Rochester, was just examining data for a study at the White Lab at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience when she discovered something unexpected. He observed that the location of the brain plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease may be a factor in hearing loss.

Na was testing the hearing of mice that have amyloid beta, which is the primary ingredient in the protein plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease. When examining two separate transgenic mouse models of the illness, he discovered that the older mice in one type, dubbed 5xFAD, showed hearing alterations resembling those seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Neither the other model nor younger mice in the 5xFAD group showed similar hearing alterations.

The first author of an article containing these findings in Frontiers in Neuroscience, Na, stated, “It was a random observation.

“Amyloid beta protein was present in both mouse models, but the location of the plaque varied, which may account for the differences in hearing loss between the groups.”

Researchers discovered plaques in the hippocampus and auditory cortex of older mice from both models. However, there was some plaque on the auditory brainstem in the brains of the hearing-impaired mice, indicating that this region may be vulnerable to disturbance from the plaque present in Alzheimer’s disease. The brainstem’s capacity to coordinate reactions to sound was shown to be diminished by the plaque, according to research.

According to Patricia White, PhD, professor of Neuroscience and senior author of the paper, “this may explain why Alzheimer’s patients have auditory symptoms.”

“We believe that plaque placement may be more crucial to hearing loss. It might be evaluated using amyloid PET imaging, making it a possible biomarker to monitor disease progression.Additionally, according to our research, frequent evaluations of the auditory brainstem response may aid in diagnosis.

The University of Rochester Medical Center’s Jingyuan Zhang, PhD, Holly Beaulac, PhD, Dorota Piekna-Przybylska, PhD, Paige Nicklas, and Amy Kiernan, PhD, are additional writers.


Can Alzheimer’s cause loss of hearing?

Many persons who have dementia also suffer from hearing loss. As individuals become older, it’s natural for them to gradually lose their hearing.

Is there a correlation between hearing loss and dementia?

The degree of hearing loss and dementia risk were shown to be correlated, according to the study. The incidence of dementia was 61% greater in people with moderate to severe hearing loss than in those with normal hearing.

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Riya Kapoor

Riya Kapoor writes about lifestyle, entertainment, news and gadgets. She has been in this industry for almost 4 years now. She is a graduate from Delhi University with English Hons and had deep connection with writing since her childhood.

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