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NIDCD Highlights

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Alliance Visits NIDCD

On December 8, 2005, NIDCD hosted a scientific briefing for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Alliance, a group of organizations representing individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. NIDCD director James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., opened the briefing, which had been requested by the group for its members and members of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus, with an overview of NIDCD’s program in human communication research. Other speakers included the following NIDCD scientists:

  • Allen Braun, M.D., chief of the Language Section, Voice, Speech, and Language Branch, discussed how neuroimaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), can be used to understand brain activity associated with language.
  • Matthew Kelley, Ph.D., chief of the Developmental Neuroscience Section, described his studies on the regeneration of auditory hair cells—sensory cells in the inner ear that are important for hearing—from associated "supporting cells" in mice.
  • Andrew Griffith, M.D., Ph.D., chief of NIDCD's Section on Gene Structure and Function, Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, and Hearing Section, Neuro-Otology Branch, discussed a recent study on heredity hearing loss in which he and others identified a genetic mutation in humans that affects the severity of hearing loss caused by a mutation of another gene.

After the presentations, the group toured Dr. Kelley’s laboratory in the Porter Neuroscience Research Center, a facility on the Bethesda campus designed to promote interdisciplinary research among NIH institutes.

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