Audiology in Brief New research suggests that the damage caused by chronic childhood ear infections could be linked to people’s preference for fatty foods, which increases the risk of being overweight as they age. The research findings were presented at the American Psychological Association’s 116th Annual Convention in August and reported by ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   September 01, 2008
Audiology in Brief
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   September 01, 2008
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, September 2008, Vol. 13, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.13132008.5
The ASHA Leader, September 2008, Vol. 13, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.13132008.5
Ear Infections and Obesity
New research suggests that the damage caused by chronic childhood ear infections could be linked to people’s preference for fatty foods, which increases the risk of being overweight as they age. The research findings were presented at the American Psychological Association’s 116th Annual Convention in August and reported by Science Daily. John Hayes of Brown University and collaborators at the University of Connecticut found associations between otitis media exposure, taste, food choice, and obesity. Among middle-aged women, those with taste functioning consistent with taste nerve damage preferred sweet and high-fat foods and were more likely to have larger waists. In another study the researchers found preschoolers with a severe history of ear infections ate fewer vegetables and more sweets and tended to be heavier.
Epidemiologist Howard Hoffman re-examined the rate of tonsillectomy (a common treatment for chronic ear infections at the time) in the National Health Examination survey conducted in the 1960s and found that 13,887 children ages 6–17 who had their tonsils removed were at an increased risk for being overweight. The recent analysis showed younger children ages 6–11 who had tonsillectomies were 40% more likely to be overweight at the time of the survey. Teen girls who had their tonsils removed were 30% more likely to be overweight. “This data suggests that there are lingering effects of tonsillectomies on taste nerves that can affect eating habits,” said Hoffman.
For more information, visit the Science Daily Web site.
Early Cochlear Implantation
Is early cochlear implantation always best? In a recent study in the August 2008 issue of Ear and Hearing, Rachael Frush Holt and Mario Svirsky found few differences in outcomes for children who received a cochlear implant prior to their first birthday and those who received one between 1 and 2 years of age. Although children younger than 1 year have been excluded from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clinical trials, they have been implanted with FDA-approved devices. The study looked at the results of 96 infants with profound hearing loss who received an implant before age 4; the infants were grouped based on age of implantation and followed for two years after the device was activated.
Although in general, earlier cochlear implantation led to better outcomes, there were few differences in outcome between the small sample of six children implanted before 12 months of age and those implanted from 13 to 24 months. Significant performance differences remained among the other age groups despite accounting for potential confounds. In addition oral language development progressed faster in children implanted earlier rather than later in life (up to age 4), whereas the rate of open-set speech recognition development was similar. Together, the results suggest a sensitive period for spoken language development during the first four years of life, but not necessarily for word recognition development during the same period.
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September 2008
Volume 13, Issue 13