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Through the newly established Ménière's Disease Grants (MDG) program, Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) funds research focused on advancing our understanding of Ménière's disease. This research will advance our understanding of disease mechanisms, or diagnosis and treatment of this inner ear and balance disorder.

The governing body of MDG is the Ménière’s Disease Advisory Board (MDAB), comprised of senior researchers and physicians throughout the country who review each application for scientific merit and program relevance. 

"Imagine suddenly, without warning, hearing a siren go off in your ear combined with hearing loss and ear pressure building up. And, if that is not enough, the world begins to spin violently as if you are trapped in a hurricane—all while vomiting. That is what a typical Ménière’s disease attack feels like. Today, we do not have a cure for this devastating condition. HHF has the important responsibility of identifying and funding the most promising science to change this."

—Dr. Anil K. Lalwani, HHF's Ménière’s Disease Advisory Board


MÉNIÈRE'S RESEARCH FROM HHF GRANTEES


Harrison Lin, M.D., and team observed a positive response to medications used to treat migraine headaches in 15 Ménière’s patients, as indicated by a significant improvement in quality of life. This study may further suggest a correlation between the pathophysiologic basis of disease in Ménière's disease and vestibular migraines. Patients with Ménière's may be successfully managed with medications intended to treat migraines. Read more.

Ian Swinburne, Ph.D., and team discovered found a pressure-sensitive relief valve in the endolymphatic sac. The discovery emphasizes the need for further study into how organs control fluid pressure, volume, flow, and ion homeostasis (balance of ions) in development and disease. It suggests a new mechanism underlying several hearing and balance disorders characterized by pressure abnormalities, including Ménière’s disease. Read more.

Wafaa Kaf, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., is improving the diagnostic test for Ménière’s disease. She has been published for her research on the use of a novel analysis technique called Continuous Loop Averaging Deconvolution (CLAD) to best improve the sensitivity of ECochG to high click rate for diagnosing Ménière’s disease. Read more.

Gail Ishiyama, M.D., documented changes in the utricle in a study of Ménière’s patients that was the first of its kind. Ishiyama’s study concluded that the alteration and degeneration of the BLB likely contributes to fluid changes in the inner ear organs that regulate hearing and balance, thus causing the Ménière’s symptoms. Read more.

Brian Blakley, M.D., and team are working toward a simple, objective, and non-invasive clinical assessment of Ménière’s disease. The results of their study show a new potential of EVestG signals toward generating an adequate set of bio-features as a diagnostic and monitoring aid for dizziness related diseases, especially Ménière’s disease. Read more.

Anil K. Lalwani, M.D., and colleagues studied patients with and without Ménière’s disease to assess the diagnostic effectiveness of imaging studies that demonstrate the presence of endolymphatic hydrops. Authors concluded that grayscale 3D FLAIR imaging of the inner ears obtained 4 hours after intravenous administration of MRI contrast media is a potentially useful diagnostic tool in the evaluation of patients with Ménière’s, while color map images can help increase the sensitivity for diagnosis but are less specific. Read more.   

Sherri Jones, Ph.D., examined the role that role genes may play in vestibular dysfunction, given that conditions like Ménière's disease have no confirmed genetic linkage. Her work suggests the need for further research on genes mediating critical inner ear vestibular function in order to better diagnose, treat, and manage patients and to better predict the course of vestibular disease. Read more.

Andrew McCall, M.D., and Gail Ishiyama, M.D., and team observed a high rate of basement membrane (BM) thickening in the inner ear of patients with Ménière’s who had previously undergone ablative labyrinthectomy. Authors recommend further studies to evaluate the role of the BMs in normal vestibular physiology and in Ménière’s disease. Read more.

Gail Ishiyama, M.D. and colleagues confirmed through a study that Ménière’s disease reduces the volume of the stria vascularis (SV) and the spiral ligament (SL).  Ishiyama and team used the Cavalieri principle to measure the volumes of both the SV and SL using postmortem archival human temporal bones from subjects with Ménière’s disease. Read more. 

Ruediger Thalmann, M.D., and team adapted state-of-the-art techniques for the study of proteins of inner ear tissues and fluids. Identification of crucial proteins will help elucidate mechanisms of endolymph volume regulation and pathogenesis of Ménière’s disease. Read more. 

George Gates, M.D., and Debara Tucci, M.D., worked with patients with Ménière's disease to determine the efficacy of the Meniett device. The device is a minimally invasive, safe, and efficacious intermediate treatment for people with substantial vertigo uncontrolled by medical therapy. Read more.