New studies may lead to better ENT, head and neck treatments

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Washington, June 2 : Three separate studies have offered new insights into prognosis of oral tongue cancer, chronic ear infections in children, and the success rates of hearing aid implants in the elderly.

The studies hold a lot of significance because they can improve physicians' ability to provide the best patient care for the ear, nose, throat, head and neck.

"These studies are prime examples of the wide variety of critical research being undertaken every day by otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons; research that will improve physicians' ability to provide the best patient care for the ear, nose, throat, head and neck," said journal editor Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD.

The first study, conducted by a team of Italian researchers, found that although oral cancer is more prevalent in men, in their study group of 71 women and 142 men diagnosed with tongue cancer, gender did not influence prognosis.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that employing a less aggressive course of treatment in female patients due to their gender was not justified.

A second study by Taiwanese researchers looked into speech performance when using digital hearing aids of the 'young elderly' compared with older elderly people.

In this study, 59 patients with hearing loss and digital hearing aids were divided into two groups based on age.

Researchers found that age played no role in the improvement of a patient's ability to hear, with both groups exhibiting improved performance in the four months following the hearing aid fitting.

The authors believe that based on this research, physicians should not view age as a limiting factor as to whether to fit older patients with hearing aids.

The third study, conducted by Australian researchers, focused on paediatric care, looking into the cause and treatment of chronic ear infections where fluid is present behind the eardrum. esults from this study indicated that the presence of intracellular bacteria in the middle ear plays an important role in the development of inflamed tissue and mucus in the area.

According to researchers, using antibiotics that specifically target intracellular bacteria may prove to be a more effective course of treatment.

The studies have been published in the June 2008 edition of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.

ANI

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