A new gene mutation that makes people deaf may explain the sudden rise in deafness in Australia
A gene mutation in the gene that determines the ability to hear has been linked to a sudden increase in the number of people with hearing loss, a new study has found.
Key points:The gene, known as DQ12A, has been implicated in a number of diseases including the rare hearing loss in patients with ASDsThe research suggests the gene can help people with ASD and other hearing loss recoverAfter a few hundred people in the US and Canada were tested, researchers at the University of Toronto found that the frequency of hearing loss was increasing in those with the gene mutation.
“There’s a huge amount of data out there showing the gene has a role in hearing loss,” Dr Amy McPherson, one of the study’s authors from the University’s Centre for Gene Regulation and Genetics, told the ABC.
“It’s important to point out that there’s not a single gene that is involved in hearing impairment, there are several.”‘
It’s not surprising’The researchers analysed blood samples taken from people with a mutation of the gene in ASDs and found that people with the mutation had about 10 times more deafness as those without it.
The mutation, known by its initials DQ 12A, is a member of a family of four genes known as “mutations”, which are linked to disorders including deafness.
It is one of a handful of genes that are known to cause deafness and, for people with it, it can also cause other conditions, including cerebral palsy.DQ12D has been shown to be a strong predictor of hearing impairment in patients, including ASDs, and is often linked to the condition in people with other diseases.
“We are seeing these increases, and these are the people who are most affected,” Dr McPhersons co-author Dr Mark Wilson, a geneticist from the university’s Centre of Gene Regulation, told ABC News.
“They have the most mutations and are most vulnerable.”
The scientists believe this is because the mutation in DQ-12A causes it to bind to certain receptors, such as those in the brain that regulate the electrical signals that make up sound, causing the brain to respond to sounds differently.
“The brain will listen to sounds that are lower pitched than the sound that is being perceived by the brain,” Dr Wilson said.
“This causes the brain cells to respond differently.
If the brain responds to a higher pitch sound, then the cells will also be stimulated to make more electrical connections to make that higher pitch.”
Dr Wilson said the findings showed that DQ could play a role “in the development of hearing and speech disorders in people”.
“The evidence is there is a connection between hearing loss and a DQ mutation, and this is something that has been associated with ASDM,” Dr Macpherson said.
While there is no cure for ASDs the research showed that people who have the mutation are at greater risk of developing the condition.
“A lot of the people we’re seeing now are quite young and not well-educated,” Dr McCpherson added.
“When they have ASDs it’s really hard to get them to make any progress, and it’s the same for deafness.”
Dr McPheysons findings have been published in the journal Nature Genetics.