The stem cells were used to make immature nerve cells. Those were then transplanted into the deaf ears of 18 gerbils.
Ten weeks later, the rodents' hearing ability had improved by an average of 46 percent, with recovery ranging from modest to almost complete, the researchers reported.Not totally a cure yet but certainly in that direction that hearing loss or nerve deafness can certainly be reversed. A key conceptual working model demonstrated here using the medical knowledge and technique that can readily be applied on humans, and that adult stem cells would be used as well.
With that news Marlee Matlin was asked about the medical break through with stem cells.
“Think about this. What if someone told you that you could’ve been made different than the content person you are with genetics. Would you? Now think how millions of deaf people who lead productive lives, would feel when told that babies born deaf can be ‘cured’.”
Matlin also told followers, “Be proud of who you are, regardless of what people think is a “handicap” or “normal.” Normal is what you want to be. Don’t let anyone tell you who or what you should be.”The problem here in reference to the yellow highlighted part above is that parents of deaf or hard of hearing babies have the parental and legal right to make an informed decision regarding the use of stem cells to reverse their baby's hearing loss once that procedure becomes safely available. They can either go forward with the treatment or reject it. And odds are quite high that most parents will prefer to opt for the stem cells treatment than to forego it. This would be absolutely true when we have someday stem cells that can reverse blindness or low vision condition would parents opt for that treatment for their blind or low vision babies. Chances are high that culturally deaf parents of a deaf/blind baby would stop at nothing to see that their baby get the stem cells treatment for blindness but not deafness when they value more on vision than hearing. Just as any parents would see any other medical condition would they like to see reversed for their babies. A hypocrisy in action folks. In fact, there wouldn't be any outcry from the culturally deaf community if there was a stem cells treatment that could reverse vision loss in babies, children, teens and adults.
But here's another "hypocrisy" about Marlee Matlin's. She champions for the donation of free hearing aids to deaf and hard of children around the world with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. I think this is great! In fact she regularly attends this annual gala event called, "So the world may hear." This year's gala 2012 event raised a record $7.6 million dollars and had many notable celebrities like:
President Bill Clinton, Maria Bello, Robin Williams, Marlee Matlin, Billy Crystal, Forest Whitaker and Sammy Sosa attended this year's Awards Gala, which raised a record $7.6M. But the biggest star was the power of hearing.And yet she warns us about stem cells treatment for hearing loss? What's her stance on stem cells treatment for curing blindness or low vision in babies?
The power of hearing. Yes, that's a strong draw and reason for people to support on finding ways to alleviate hearing loss. Even Lou Ferrigno (who received his Esteem Envoy implantable hearing aid) and Gary Busey (Marlee Matlin confronted Busey his hearing loss that he needs to get a hearing aid seen in the Celebrity Apprentice show by which $1 million dollar was raised for Starkey Hearing Foundation) who were at the gala event as well. It won't be long until celebrities support for the cure for hearing loss through stem cells treatment.
Now, here's the irony.
Marlee Matlin is perhaps unwittingly helping people understand and value the power of hearing for several years by attending the "So the World May Hear" gala annual event that began in 1984 and supports the distribution of free hearing aids to children around the world. Deaf and hard of hearing children around the world with their free hearing aids are getting a taste of that power of hearing and experience the joy of being able to hear sound. And with that taste in mind already experienced they certainly would want to opt for stem cells treatment to reverse their own hearing loss if they had that choice and the means to do so.
Now, I'm sure some in the culturally deaf community would express their shock and outrage over this but let me remind some of the culturally deaf people that the bulk of their community do wear hearing aids and cochlear implants. Look around whenever you are with a group of deaf and hard of hearing friends. How many of them are wearing hearing aids and cochlear implants? Why are they wearing hearing aids? Why cochlear implants? What makes you think they would not want to opt for stem cells treatment to reverse or simply improve their own hearing? What makes you think they would not support parental rights to make an informed decision to provide stem cells treatment to reverse hearing loss for their deaf/hh babies?
So, who is really showing the hypocrisy here?
Is the death of culturally deaf community that far behind? Or is it just plain paranoia?