Posts Tagged ‘Sound’

Scientists have used gene therapy on embryos to grow hair cells with the potential to reduce hearing loss in adults.  This test was done on lab mice, not humans, mind you.

How your ear can hear.

How your ear can hear.

Sensory hair cells inside the cochlea, the auditory portion of the inner ear, convert sound waves into electrical pulses which are then delivered to the brain.

The loss of these cells and the neurons they contain is the most common cause of hearing impairment and  deafness.

At birth, humans have about 30,000 hair cells, which can be damaged by infections, ageing, genetic diseases, loud noise, or medical treatments.

Ususally, the damaged hair cells do not regrow in humans. But recent research has kindled hope that nerve deafness may one day be curable.

Experiments have shown that implanting a gene known as Atoh1 into the inner ear of a mouse embryo caused non-sensory cells to become the sensory hair cells.

Earlier research had hinted that this would happen, but this was the first time that working hairs werre created by gene therapy.

The production of the working hair cells in a mouse embryo are a crucial step toward using similar therapies in human patients.


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The natural beauty of Fiordland National Park

Although the Great Barrier Reef, our previous entry, may be amazing, most New Zealanders, or Kiwis, believe that the Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound in Fiordland National Park on the Southern Island of the country.  Ever since Captain Cook discovered the site, it has been attracting attention for its natural beauty. 

The park is famous for the multitude of amazing fiords that rise up out of the south-western sea coast.  The ten mile-long bay is rimmed by sharp granite cliffs, some as high as 4,000 feet.  There are also a number of waterfalls cascading from the top of the fiords.  Wildlife is everywhere around the park.  Bottlenose dolphins play in the inlet.  Many different seal and bird species call the park home.  During the spring time crested penguins nest in the park as well. 

The clear waters of the sound are also perfect for photography, and boating.   Swimming is acceptable, but may be a bit cold if not done during the warm summer months.  The Milford Sound is also considered the finest hike in all the world.  The four-day, 32-mile path is a great hike for all nature lovers.  The entire area is very scenic and popular for Kiwi vacations.  Despite all of this, it seems to be hidden away from the rest of the world, so finding solitude is very easy. 

There is always the chance of a downpour, but even rainy days have a captivating beauty.  There are number of boat tours always available, so there is never a bad time to travel here.

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