19 January 2015

Factors leading to Ménière’s Disease

A study has identified factors which are likely to lead to the development of the long term ear disorder Ménière’s disease.

What causes Ménière’s disease? It has puzzled researchers for years. Why do some people develop the inner-ear disorder Ménière’s disease, making diagnosis and treatment a difficult task? Even though this disease of the inner ear is a non-fatal illness, it can cause the patient very difficult problems such as tinnitus, hearing loss, vertigo and a feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear.

However, a recent study from the UK suggests that a dysfunctional immune system is a key player in the development of Ménière’s disease. The study also identifies old age and females with white skin as factors that increase the risk of developing the disorder.

Factors and reasons

The study included records from nearly 1,400 Ménière’s sufferers. By analysing the data, the researchers found the disease was more prevalent in white females and older people. Furthermore, subjects from poorer backgrounds as well as overweight individuals were also found to be more likely to develop the disease.

To achieve a deeper understanding of Ménière’s disease, the researchers compared and contrasted their recorded data with information from nearly half a million people without the illness. The research team discovered that the disease is linked to immune system disorders and diseases related to the autonomic nervous system, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease and arthritis.

Based on their discoveries, the researchers assessed that a dysfunctional immune system and the nervous system are playing a part in the development of the illness.

About the study

The research was carried out by Dr. Jessica Tyrell and her team of researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK. The findings of the research were published in the health journal ‘Ear and Hearing’.

Source: www.exeter.ac.uk

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