This Special Issue of The Anatomical Record, “The Anatomy and Biology of Hearing and Balance: Cochlear and Vestibular Implants,” (Van De Water, 2012) has two overlapping themes. The first, as elaborated upon below, continues this journals long-standing interest in publishing the finest anatomical research underlying two of our special senses, hearing and balance. The second showcases the direction of anatomy, in particular, and basic biology in general, in moving toward discipline integration and direct implementation of knowledge to medical treatment, what is often called “translational” science. Joining these themes in one issue on the anatomy and biology underlying cutting-edge research and its direct applications via implant intervention is a new direction for our journal.
As noted, the biology underling hearing and deafness has a long and respected history within The Anatomical Record. Indeed, experimental research by the renowned anatomist and embryologist George L. Streeter in the early 20th century (Streeter, 1909, 1921) transplanting the ear vesicles of tadpoles was among the first to chart the migration and position of ear components during development. The early to mid 20th century saw a parade of studies in The Anatomical Record on the development and anatomy of the region by anatomists such as T.H. Bast, B.J. Anson, J.C. Sandison, and E.R. Clark, to mention but a few (see Review in Laitman, 2006a). More recently, aspects of the evolution of hearing and primate auditory diversity were presented by Heffner (2004) and Coleman and Ross (2004) in a noteworthy special issue edited by Smith et al. (2004) on “The Evolution of the Special Senses in Primates”; and in our first complete focus on the biology of hearing in a special issue edited by noted otologist and neurobiologist Friedland (2006), “Structure and Function in the Auditory System: From Cochlea to Cortex”; Laitman (2006b).
This current special issue builds upon our strong foundation in publishing cutting-edge science in understanding hearing and balance and their disorders by now advancing to a novel level: translational applications. We are very proud that extraordinary scientists from around the globe have chosen The Anatomical Record—long a leader in the dissemination of basic biology—as their partner to advance the reportage of novel translational interventions and treatments.