Sometimes help comes from the unlikeliest sources, in this case, chickens. It seems that, unlike humans, chickens have the ability to restore lost hearing. In fact, all vertebrates (the defining characteristic of which having a vertebral column, or spine), with the notable exception of mammals, have the same ability to restore their own damaged hearing. In the case of chickens, they have supporting cells in their inner ears that can replace “hair cells” that have been damaged by loud noises or other causes. With this in mind, researchers’ goal is to identify the mechanism behind chickens’ ability to repair harmed hair cells, as well as to find potential drugs that can do the same for humans.
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