Category: Sight + Sound Blog

Reviving Retigabine for Tinnitus Podcast

Thanos Tzounopoulos, PhD

Tinnitus Talk, “a podcast on all things tinnitus,” interviewed Thanos Tzounopoulos, PhD, director of the Pittsburgh Hearing Research Center on his research on developing a drug to treat tinnitus. His work builds on the previously somewhat successful off-label tinnitus drug Retigabine (Trobalt). That drug was taken off the market due to severe side effects. Thanos is now attempting to re-develop it, without the side effects, and better targeted at the source of the neural hyperactivity perceived as tinnitus. In this episode, we speak extensively about Thanos’ theory of how tinnitus is generated in the brain and the role of (broken)

Hearing Loss and Social Isolation

Catherine Palmer, PhD

“Blindness separates us from things, but deafness separates us from people.” —Helen Keller These words, spoken so many years ago, unfortunately still hold true for millions of people with untreated hearing loss around the world. While more and more health care systems and insurers are interested in social participation as it is linked to health outcomes and specifically successful aging, scientists and physicians at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, led by Catherine Palmer, PhD, are working diligently to solve the puzzle of hearing loss and its connection to social isolation. Social Participation and Health Social participation has long

A New Look at Treating Eye Disease

Morgan V. Fedorchak, PhD

Exciting breakthroughs in ocular drug delivery and release may provide relief for vision patients who rely on eye drops, thanks to the work of Morgan Fedorchak, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Bioengineering and Clinical & Translational Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. New Solutions to Old Problems One of the biggest problems patients face with ocular diseases such as glaucoma and chronic dry eye is the frequent administration of medication via eye drops. For example, post-operative antibiotics following cataract surgery must initially be instilled as often as six times per day to prevent a potentially blinding infection. Likewise, patients battling

Surgical Cognition Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh

Paul A. Gardner, MD and Carl Snyderman, MD

There is much more to surgery than manual dexterity.  A virtuoso violinist does not necessarily make a great surgeon.  The Surgical Cognition Laboratory at the Eye & Ear Institute is a new initiative that delves deep into the surgical experience to better understand the origins of surgical expertise.  Led by Carl Snyderman, MD, MBA of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh, the program intends to recognize and integrate new technologies to improve patient outcomes and healthcare experiences.  According to Dr. Snyderman, “We now have the tools to understand the learning process for minimally invasive endoscopic techniques and

Getting A Bird’s Eye View

Susana da Silva, PhD

Scientists in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine continue to advance their research on a variety of areas that could eventually help solve the puzzle of vision loss. One current area of focus involves studying the fovea. What’s a Fovea? The fovea is a small depression in the retina of the eye where visual acuity is highest. The center of the field of vision is focused in this region, where retinal cones are mainly concentrated. The fovea is responsible for our ability to see colored and sharp vision and perform daily tasks, like reading,

A Window to the Brain: Understanding How What We Hear Influences How We Behave

Ross Williamson, PhD

As humans, our senses, such as hearing, influence how we perceive and recognize the world around us. For example, most everyone has experienced the phenomenon of hearing a certain song and instantly being transported to a specific memory of their life. Researchers in the Department of Otolaryngology, however, are now trying to determine how what we hear can also influence how we behave. How Can Hearing Affect Our Behavior? “Our ability to make decisions based on changes in the auditory environment often involves the accumulation of sensory evidence, where newly acquired information is used to update existing beliefs and drive

Swimming Towards a Cure: Studying Fish to Understand Vision Loss in Humans

Swimming Towards a Cure

Led by Jeffrey Gross, PhD, the E. Ronald Salvitti Chair in Ophthalmology Research and the director of the Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration, researchers are studying an unlikely creature to understand vision loss in humans: zebrafish. A major focus area for the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is the regeneration of the retinal pigment epithelium and retina. Epitheli-what? So, what is the retinal pigment epithelium? The retinal pigment epithelium, or RPE, spans the entire back of the eye and functions to maintain the health of the light-sensing photoreceptor cells of the retina;

COVID-19 and your Respiratory Tract: Important Signs to Know from the ENT Team

The Eye & Ear Foundation

The Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine would like to provide information on COVID-19 and how it affects your respiratory tract. The clinicians are here to help you during the quarantine caused by this pandemic. Q: What is COVID-19? COVID-19 is a form of the coronavirus, which is a respiratory pathogen. It infects the nose, throat, and lungs with high viral concentrations present in these areas. Q: How is COVID-19 spread? Sneezing or coughing create droplets of mucous that spread the virus. Research suggests that this aerosol may travel over 20 feet. Q: What are

Introducing Sight + Sound Bites

The Eye & Ear Foundation

The Eye & Ear Foundation proudly introduces a new bi-weekly lunchtime educational webinar series of the research and clinical innovations at the Eye and Ear Institute. Our Inaugural Webinar is Thursday, April 16th at Noon and will feature: Jeffrey Gross, PhD Ronald Salvitti Chair in Ophthalmology Research Vice Chairman of Research Professor of Ophthalmology and Developmental Biology Director, Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration Ocular Development, Disease and Regeneration Laboratory University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Dr. Gross will give an exciting overview of the broad research currently being conducted by the Department of Ophthalmology.  Research targets include: Macular

Coronavirus & Your Eyes: What UPMC Eye Center Ophthalmologists Want You to Know

See 2020 Differently

The Department of Ophthalmology continues to provide services while restricting visitation and postponing non-urgent procedures in order to keep patients and employees safe. We want to provide patients with information about our availability and other concerns relating to your vision during the COVID-19 pandemic. Q: Can Coronavirus affect my eyes? Viruses cause infection of the eye such as pink eye or conjunctivitis. The chances of coronavirus causing pink eye are small. If you have pink eye without other symptoms, it most likely was not caused by the coronavirus. Like other viruses, coronavirus can spread through the eyes by touching a

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