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Ohio State researchers developing better methods to diagnose chronic middle ear infections
$1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to create a library of computational models that will help clinicians diagnose and treat chronic ear infections
Samir Ghadiali (http://bme.osu.edu/
Approximately fifty percent of children in the U.S. under age three experience at least one episode of otitis media at some point in their lives, according to research published in the April 2013 issue of Otolaryngology-
“Our goal is to build a library of models, based on a child’s age and other factors, that clinicians could use to diagnose chronic otitis media and determine which treatments would be most effective in individual patients,” said Ghadiali.
While researchers have known for some time that chronic otitis media is linked to dysfunction of the Eustachian tube, an upper respiratory airway, the anatomical and functional structure of this airway varies from patient to patient. This makes diagnosing and treating the disease difficult.
“In our urgent care centers, clinics and surgery centers here at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, we see an average of 17,000 patients each year for ear infections,”
Chronic middle ear infections are currently treated with either antibiotics or the surgical insertion of tympanostomy tubes, but those treatments don’t work on all patients, said Ghadiali. Other treatment options exist, but have low effectiveness rates across the spectrum of patients.
“These kids really suffer a lot because they have these hearing problems at such a young age, which can lead to developmental issues,” Ghadiali said.
Ghadiali, who is also an investigator in Ohio State’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute (https://heartlung.osu.edu/
The research builds on previous work Ghadiali completed with Charles Bluestone and William Doyle, professors of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh, to develop computational models of the Eustachian tube. Those models helped illustrate how the Eustachian tube functions structurally, both in normal adults and in kids with ear infections.
A previous R01 NIH grant funded research to develop and refine computational models that simulate Eustachian tube dysfunction in several defined groups of patients who develop the chronic disease. Results of that research showed the highly personalized nature of the disease, where even patients who were in the same group reacted very differently to simulated treatments.
Research reported in this press release was supported by National Institute for Deafness and Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers RO1DC007230 and P50DC007667.
The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.