UCI doctors and a medical student are preparing to release the second version of EarTrumpet — the only iPhone hearing assistance application that combines adjustable volume controls with a hearing test that lets users tailor sound enhancement to their needs. "Other 'hearing aid' applications simply make sound louder at all frequencies," says Hamid Djalilian, director of otology, neurotology and skull base surgery at UC Irvine Medical Center. "We wanted it to work just like a hearing aid, where one can choose which pitches to amplify."
A therapy developed by Aileen Anderson and Brian Cummings of UCI's Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center in collaboration with researchers at StemCells Inc. will be the basis of the world's first clinical trial using human neural stem cells to treat spinal cord injury. Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory agency for therapeutic products, has authorized a Phase I/II clinical trial for chronic spinal cord injury, cases in which inflammation has stabilized and recovery has reached a plateau. Patient enrollment is expected to begin in early 2011.
UCI researchers have identified a novel mechanism in the brain that boosts memory. In collaboration with scientists at Germany's University of Munster, the team found that a small protein called neuropeptide S can strengthen and prolong memories of everything from negative events to simple objects. According to study leader Rainer Reinscheid, UCI associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, the discovery could provide important clues about how the brain stores memories and also result in new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other cognitive impairments.
UCI researchers have discovered that circadian rhythms — the internal body clock — regulate fat metabolism. This helps explain why people burn fat more efficiently at certain times of day and could lead to new pharmaceuticals for obesity, diabetes and energy-related illnesses. The study was led by Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Donald Bren Professor and pharmacology chair, who has found many of the key molecular switches that turn these rhythms on and off.