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Newly Identified Genes May Help to Screen and Treat Individuals with Hearing Loss

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 17 May 2022
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Image: Researchers have identified 10 new genes linked with hearing loss (Photo courtesy of 123rf.com)
Image: Researchers have identified 10 new genes linked with hearing loss (Photo courtesy of 123rf.com)

A massive genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified 10 novel gene loci associated with hearing loss, which may aid in screening and treating the disorder.

Hearing loss is one of the top contributors to years lived with disability and is a risk factor for developing dementia. Hearing loss is a major medical problem worldwide with an estimated 2.4 billion individuals expected to have some form of hearing loss by the year 2050.

Molecular evidence on the cellular origins of hearing loss in humans is growing. In this regard, investigators at King's College London (United Kingdom) and colleagues at Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden) and Erasmus University (Rotterdam, Netherlands) performed a genome-wide association meta-analysis of clinically diagnosed and self-reported hearing impairment on 723,266 individuals. The study comprised 147,997 affected individuals and 575,269 control subjects including 60,941 affected individuals that were not included in a previously published GWAS meta-analysis.

Results of the meta-analysis revealed 48 genes linked to hearing loss, including 10 novel variants newly linked to hearing.

Contributing author Dr. Frances Williams, professor of genomic epidemiology at King's College London, said, "Our findings identify 10 genes newly linked with hearing loss. This study points to genes we could target for screening purposes, drug development. and even gene therapy in the future. This study provides a solid foundation for ultimately improving therapies against hearing loss."

The study was published in the May 16, 2022, online edition of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Related Links:
King's College London 
Karolinska Institute 
Erasmus University 


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