Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MRIs better at diagnosing needs for ’bionic ear’ implants

12.01.2006


Magnetic resonance imaging is a better diagnostic tool for cochlear ear implants than the more commonly used high-resolution computed tomography, a UT Southwestern study shows.



A cochlear implant, sometimes called a "bionic ear," allows patients with congenital hearing loss to bypass the problem and again perceive sound. Surgeons conduct radiologic studies using either an MRI or CT scan prior to implantation to determine abnormalities in the inner ear, conditions of related nerves and any obstructions in the ear ducts.

In the first head-to-head comparison, a research team led by Dr. Peter Roland, professor and chairman of otolaryngology, found that MRIs offered a more detailed view and better information on specifics. The results are reported online in the journal Otology & Neurotology.


"Thirty percent of patients we evaluated had abnormalities on MRI we would not have seen on CT, whereas in none of the patients were there findings on CT that we wouldn’t have seen on MRI," said Dr. Roland, the study’s senior author.

Some of those specifics help determine which surgical technique is used, the specific electrode arrays employed and can impact in which ear the cochlear implant is placed.

"In half the patients who had abnormalities on MRI that weren’t seen on CT, it made a difference in which ear was selected for implantation," he said.

In the study, researchers evaluated the records of 56 implantation candidates, imaging 112 temporal bones. CT scans found as few as 6 percent of certain abnormalities.

On average, testing and anesthesiology costs for MRIs are 40 percent to 50 percent higher than those associated with CTs.

The implant is essentially a bionic ear, Dr. Roland said. The ear normally translates sound waves - a mechanical form of energy - to electrical impulses, which the brain perceives as sound. Implants bypass the dysfunctional inner ear and mirror the natural mechanical-to-electrical-impulse translation, a different process than hearing aids, which simply amplify the sound waves.

Cochlear implantation is targeted to those with nerve deafness, which patients can be born with or can acquire as part of the aging process, from injury, from excessive noise or from toxic reactions.

The implants work best for individuals who have lost hearing after they have acquired speech, and are more effective in those with recent hearing loss. They also work very well with those born deaf, provided they are implanted early, such as before age 7 or 8.

"The earlier you implant the device, the better the results," Dr. Roland said.

In about 1 percent or 2 percent of cases, the implants can become infected. In related research, Dr. Roland analyzed how the implants become infected and concluded that cochlear implant material allows a biofilm to form that bacteria live in. The biofilm makes it difficult for antibiotics to reach the bacteria, altering the metabolism and limiting the effectiveness of antibiotics.

"Eradicating the infection with antibiotics is very difficult and sometimes impossible," Dr. Roland said. "In those cases, the implant has to be removed. The patient can’t hear again until the implant is put back again, which is often six to eight weeks. So it’s a very unpleasant experience, especially for children."

The study was the first to remove an uninfected implant - the failure was electronic - and find no biofilm. That indicated to researchers that the biofilms cause infection, he said.

Researchers found nooks and crannies in the design of the implants that contribute to biofilm development, giving designers some new information to help eliminate the problem.

"We’re also working on techniques to alter the surface structures of cochlear implants at the nano level to keep these biofilms from forming," Dr. Roland said.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study included Drs. Timothy Booth, associate professor of radiology, and David Parry, a former resident.

Russell Rian | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Extensive Funding for Research on Chromatin, Adrenal Gland, and Cancer Therapy

28.06.2017 | Awards Funding

Predicting eruptions using satellites and math

28.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

Extremely fine measurements of motion in orbiting supermassive black holes

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>