An enhanced diet helped reduce hearing loss in mice with the genetic mutation most commonly responsible for childhood deafness, new research suggests.
The study found that an antioxidant regimen of beta carotene (precursor to vitamin A), vitamins C and E and magnesium helped slow progression of hereditary deafness in the mice with a connexin 26 gene deletion. Mutations in this gene are a leading cause of genetic hearing loss in many populations.
Meanwhile, the enhanced diet had the opposite effect on another mutant mouse modeling AUNA1, a rare type of hearing loss, according to the research from University of Michigan’s Kresge Hearing Research Institute and U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
The findings appear in Scientific Reports from the publishers of Nature.
“Many babies born with a genetic mutation that causes deafness pass their newborn screening test but then lose their hearing later in life,” says author Glenn Green, M.D., associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
“These patterns suggest that for some children, there may be an opportunity to potentially save cells present at birth. For these childhood cases it’s crucial that we identify therapies that prevent progression and reverse loss of hearing.
“Our findings suggest that a particular high dose of mineral and vitamin supplements may be beneficial to one genetic mutation,” adds senior author Yehoash Raphael, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School. “However, the negative outcome in the AUNA1 mouse model suggests that different mutations may respond to the special diet in different ways.”