Dr. Ishman is a bit behind on her goal of enrolling 27 patients into the sleep study, in part because of delays in getting the sensors and the lack of a research assistant. Still, the grant has helped her move the project toward her long-term goal: a risk-reward algorithm.
Explore This IssueSeptember 2011
“I’m hoping, if we can differentiate patterns of flow signal, it will give us a better feeling for whether or not people are good candidates for tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy therapy,” she said. “For example, if you are somebody who has complete apneas, are you in fact not as good a candidate for us to consider tonsil and adenoid removal as someone who has partial flow obstruction?” She said such a distinction is more of a concern in children who have neurological impairment or anatomical abnormalities than in children with no such impairments or abnormalities. Her research, she said, may help physicians decide the best primary therapy for children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or other neurological impairments.
Dr. Parham and his team are looking at a well-studied disease from a new angle. And, based on preliminary results, their human tissue culture model exploring the effects of bisphosphonates on otosclerotic osteoblasts is showing positive results.
“We know otosclerosis as a disease of hearing, but it’s really a disease of the bone,” Dr. Parham said. “Therefore, to better understand it, we should be studying the diseased bone.”
Dr. Parham and his team are focusing on osteoblast characteristics and their role in otosclerosis. He’s begun treating otosclerotic osteoblast cultures with bisphosphonates, and “lo and behold, they normalized their behaviors.” Their study, he said, confirms that the culture model can reproduce some disease characteristics of otosclerosis, suggesting that the approach can be practical and that those disease characteristics can be normalized with medical therapies.
“This adds additional fuel to the argument that there can be a medical therapy as an adjunct or, perhaps one day, replacement for surgical replacement,” he said. “Our hope is that, in the long term, medical therapies in treatment of otosclerosis will take a greater foothold in the otolaryngology community.”
Dr. Parham is also leveraging his grant to expand his research horizons. He is actively involved in conducting age-related hearing loss and ototoxicity research, clinical trials on the association between osteoporosis and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and another trial on screening for head and neck cancers using narrow band imaging.