mommykim
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:09 pm

single human subject--good science or not?

Postby mommykim » Thu Feb 05, 2004 9:39 am

This is for a 3rd grade project, so technical expectations aren't so high. But I want to know if this is good science. My son has a cousin who is profoundly deaf from birth; she has heard nothing in 6 years. She just received a cochlear implant which is based on sending radio transmission through the cochlea and along nerves to the brain. The brain then learns to recognize these impulses as sounds. My son questions whether she will actually hear when they "turn her ears on" and if she will automatically hear everything. So we thought we would offer her some common sounds at "turn on" and count how many she recognizes initially. Then we will return at 2 more intervals to see how many of the sounds she recognizes over time. His hypothesis is that she will recognize all sounds at turn on or that she will recognize different sounds at different rates.

Is it okay to use a single human subject for this purpose? Or does this need more tweaking? The fact that she heard nothing at all before serves as a control, I think. The variables that exist in the real world are that each recipient is truly different. Each has a different mental ability to "learn" the sounds. Some have had some hearing prior to implant, so there is already sound development. It is a given, though, that all sounds are learned at a different rate. Example, music is a very complex sound and takes longer to "master" and enjoy than simpler sounds.

What do you think? Thanks

davidkallman2
Former Expert
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 11:48 pm

Study size

Postby davidkallman2 » Thu Feb 05, 2004 7:40 pm

Hi mommykim,

Of course, it's not good science.

It's an interesting question you raise, though.

One has to assume that the cochlear implants were viewed as safe and effective by the U.S. government, presumably the F.D.A. And previous tests would have been required from the cochlear implant manufacturer. Those tests may be online, or may even come, in result form, with the cochlear implants.

I would suggest finding the previous tests and designing a project that supplements the prior tests. The cochlear implant manufacturer may even be interested in the results of your tests!
Cheers!

Dave
Science Buddies Mentor

davidkallman2
Former Expert
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 11:48 pm

Postby davidkallman2 » Sun Feb 08, 2004 4:38 pm

Hi mommykim,

Investigating the F.D.A. angle a bit more, there's http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/pdf/P000025b.pdf It's a 34 page summary of safety and effectiveness data on a new coclear implant.

Wow! A lot of testing is required! The results for the manufacturer doing the test are in the PDF file. I assume the same type of testing was done for the cochlear implant your son's cousin is using.

Does reading through the PDF file suggest any projects?
Cheers!



Dave

Science Buddies Mentor


Return to “General Questions”