Meniere’s Disease Vs. A 17 Year Old – Who Is Winning?

(Image via Ventura County Star)

There are many of us with inner ear disorders. We know all too well that little is known about the various disorders. There is little research being done. And it quickly becomes frustratingly apparent that when we go to our doctors for help, we find that there is not that much help for us.

Everyone is affected differently, from mild to severe, but there are many consistencies. Vertigo, tinnitus, disequilibrium, nausea and hearing loss are only a few of the side effects.  It is a life-changing invisible chronic illness in so many ways. It affects many of us daily. It is so bad and unrelenting that some people have had to give up their jobs, their normal routines and their social life. The reduced mobility that comes with an inner ear disorder also has a domino effect on other areas of a person’s health – muscle weakness, a lower tolerance to colds and flues and the increased risk of other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

And this brings me back to the question in the blog post title “Meniere’s Disease Vs. A 17 Year Old – Who Is Winning?”.  It may be 17 year old Samir Malhotra who is helping to bring us one step closer to discovering what causes Meniere’s Disease. This article from the Ventura County Star explains how Samir, while working on a peer group project for his anatomy class as well as a science fair project, has possibly discovered a cause of Meniere’s Disease! In the article, Ivan Axel López, adjunct professor of surgery, division of head and neck, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, says:

“His project was related to propose a model of how water movement is regulated in the human inner ear, and how a disbalance in water transport affects inner ear function,” López said. “He writes excellent abstracts and significantly contributes to the elaboration of research reports. In addition, he is a co-author of a manuscript recently submitted to the Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Journal. This manuscript is the first one to report the presence of cochlin (a protein unique to the inner ear) in vestibular endorgans (definition follows) obtained at surgery from patients diagnosed with a debilitating hearing disorder called Meniere’s disease.”

This definition of endorgan  (found at the bottom of the page) is from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com 

end organ,

n the expanded termination of a nerve fiber in muscle, skin, mucous membrane, or other structure.
end organ, proprioceptor,

n.pl the sensory end organs, located mainly in the muscles, tendons, and labyrinth, that provide information on the movements and position of the body. Four specific end organs are the muscle spindles; Golgi corpuscles, stimulated by tension; Pacini’s corpuscles, stimulated by pressure; and bare nerve endings, stimulated by pain.
end organ, sensory,

n the sensory nerve fibers that end peripherally as either unmyelinated fibers or special structures called receptors. Receptors are situated in the skin, mucous membranes, muscles, tendons, joints, and other structures and also in such special sense organs as those for vision, hearing, smell, and taste. The receptors are organized into a system that relates them to the environment: exteroceptors, interoceptors, and proprioceptors.
Samir has applied to all the Ivy League schools as well as UCLA. He loves research and people so he may be combining medicine and research as a dual career. Here’s wishing him and his future colleagues much success in their research and maybe one of us may have Samir as our doctor one day.
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2 comments

  1. I know! Only 17! Did you read the article? There’s a small box to the right of the article with another picture of him. Under the picture it says he has spent the past two summers at the UCLA Department of Head and Neck Surgery. I was reading the article and I was thinking of how this discovery could affect so many of us, even if we don’t have Meniere’s.

    The summer I was 17, I think I started a part-time job at a pizza restaurant.

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