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July 19, 2006, 10:07 PM CT

Antioxidants May Slow Vision Loss

Antioxidants May Slow Vision Loss
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have successfully blocked the advance of retinal degeneration in mice with a form of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) by treating them with vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid and other antioxidant chemicals.

"Much more work needs to be done to determine if what we did in mice will work in humans," said Peter Campochiaro, the Eccles Professor of Ophthalmology and Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "But these findings have helped to solve a mystery".

In patients with RP, rod photoreceptors die from a mutation, but it has not been known why cone photoreceptors die. After rods die, the level of oxygen in the retina goes up, and this work shows that it is the high oxygen that gradually kills the cones. Oxygen damage is also called "oxidative damage" and can be reduced by antioxidants. So for the first time, researchers have a therapy target in patients with RP, added Campochiaro. His team's findings appeared in the July online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Retinas in all mammals, from mouse to man, are made up of light-sensitive cells known as cones and rods, named for their shapes, which convert light into nerve signals that are then transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve. Cones are needed to see colors and make vision possible in bright light, whereas the far more numerous rods permit sight in low light. The human retina contains approximately 125 million rod cells and six million cone cells. In diseases like RP and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), these cells die off and eventually lead to blindness (in the case of RP) or legal blindness (in the case of AMD).........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source

July 18, 2006, 8:47 PM CT

World's First Handheld Electronic Reader For The Blind

World's First Handheld Electronic Reader For The Blind
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today unveils a groundbreaking new device, the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader. The portable Reader, developed by the National Federation of the Blind and renowned inventor Ray Kurzweil, enables users to take pictures of and read most printed materials at the click of a button. Users merely hold "the camera that talks" over print-a letter, bills, a restaurant menu, an airline ticket, a business card, or an office memo-and in seconds they hear the contents of the printed document played back in clear synthetic speech. Combining a state-of-the-art digital camera with a powerful personal data assistant, the Reader puts the best available character-recognition software together with text-to-speech conversion technology-all in a single handheld device.

Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The world of the printed word is about to be opened to the blind in a way it has never been before. No other device in the history of technology for the blind and visually impaired has provided quicker access to more information. The NFB promotes a positive attitude towards blindness, and this Reader will make blind and visually impaired people dramatically more independent. The result will be better performance at work, at school, at home, and everywhere else we go. This Reader substantially improves the quality of life for the growing number of blind and visually impaired people".........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source

July 11, 2006, 11:35 PM CT

Type 2 Diabetes Increases The Risk Of Glaucoma

Type 2 Diabetes Increases The Risk Of Glaucoma
A 20-year study of women in the Nurses' Health Study has shown that Type 2 diabetes is associated with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), the most common form of glaucoma, accounting for about 60 to 70% of all glaucomas. The study is reported in the recent issue of the journal Ophthalmology.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School observed 76,3128 women who were enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study from 1980 to 2000. Eligible participants were at least 40 years old, did not have POAG at the beginning of the study, and reported receiving eye exams during follow-up. After controlling for age, race, hypertension, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol intake, smoking and family history of glaucoma, they found that type 2 diabetes was positively associated with POAG. However, the relation between type 2 diabetes and POAG did not increase with longer durations of type 2 diabetes.

"The study supports the notion that type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of glaucoma," said Louis Pasquale, M.D., lead author of the study and co-director of the Glaucoma Service at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) and an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. "While obesity fuels the type 2 diabetes epidemic, it appears that factors uncorrelation to obesity contribute to the positive association between type 2 diabetes and glaucoma. We were surprised to find this. Our study had a large enough sample to allow us to focus on type 2 diabetes only and to study its relation to newly diagnosed POAG cases. We were also able to correct for other factors that could contribute to glaucoma. Our work suggests, but in now way proves, that factors other than lifestyle behavior contributing to insulin resistance could lead to elevated intraocular pressure and glaucoma".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

June 28, 2006, 11:49 PM CT

First Human Trial Of Antibacterial Contact Lens

First Human Trial Of Antibacterial Contact Lens
Biotechnology company Biosignal Ltd and the Institute for Eye Research have received ethics approval for the first human clinical trial of an antibacterial extended-wear contact lens.

The ASX-listed company commercialises a novel anti-bacterial technology identified by UNSW scientists at the Centre for Marine Biofouling and Bioinnovation.

The trial beginning on June 29 will compare the safety performance of an antibacterial contact lens to that of a standard contact lens.

The comparison involving ten people will evaluate eye health, lens performance on the eye and wearers' subjective responses. Biosignal will announce the trial's results to the market in July.

"Adverse events caused by microbial contamination of contact lenses are a major impediment to more convenient, extended wear of contact lenses," says UNSW Professor Mark Willcox, who will supervise the trial. "This trial is the first significant step towards overcoming this significant problem".

Acute red eye occurs in 20 percent per year of the estimated 100 million wearers of contact lenses worldwide. Microbial keratitis, a serous eye disease that can cause blindness, occurs in one in 500 contact lens wearers per year if they sleep in lenses. There is currently no antibacterial contact lens in the market.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source

June 22, 2006, 8:36 PM CT

Statins Linked to Lower Risk of Cataracts

Statins Linked to Lower Risk of Cataracts
A five-year study of people who took cholesterol-lowering statin drugs found they had a 40 percent lower incidence of the most common kind of cataract.

And the incidence of nuclear cataracts, in which the lens of the eye grows cloudy as a person ages, was 60 percent lower in statin users who never smoked and didn't have diabetes, the scientists said.

The best explanation is that the benefit is linked to statins' antioxidant activity, said Kristine Lee, a statistician at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, who was involved with the study.

"Part of the reason we looked at statins is that oxidative stress is correlation to cataract development," Lee said.

No relationship was found between statin use and two less common forms of the eye condition, cortical and posterior subcapsular cataracts.

The findings are reported in the June 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Wisconsin scientists examined data from the Beaver Dam Eye Study, which followed 1,299 persons who were first examined between 1998 and 2000. In the five-year follow-up period 12.2 percent of the statin users developed nuclear cataracts, compared to 17.2 percent of people who weren't taking the drugs.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source

June 19, 2006, 9:24 PM CT

Suggest your News Item To Medicineworld

Suggest your News Item To Medicineworld
As you are aware we are the leading publishers of health news on the web. We publish news items in various forms including numerous blogs and news items. We invite you to participate in our new collection.

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Posted by: Janet      Permalink

June 19, 2006, 8:10 PM CT

Reducing Eye Strain Of Computer Use

Reducing Eye Strain Of Computer Use
A recent study shows that nearly 54 million children work at a computer each day either at home or in school. Unfortnately, of these 54 million, those who spend more than two hours each day in front of a computer screen are more likely experience headaches, loss of focus, burning/tired eyes, double/blurred vision, and/or neck/shoulder pain.

Children are not the only ones who suffer from painful vision problems. New information reveals that the majority of people who work at a computer experience some eye or vision problems and that the level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of computer use. A national survey of doctors of optometry found that more than 14 percent of their patients present with eye or vision-related symptoms resulting from computer work. Furthermore, in a survey of more than 2,000 current and former contact lens wearers, time spent in front of a computer (41 percent) was the activity most frequently mentioned as causing discomfort while they were wearing their lenses.

Staring at a computer monitor or the small screens on most devices can lead to a variety of ailments, including headaches, eyestrain, blurred vision, dry and irritated eyes, neck and/or backache, and sensitivity to light. Uncorrected or under-corrected vision problems can be major contributing factors to computer-related eye stress, affecting visual performance and comfort. The good news is that a number of potential eye and/or vision problems can be reduced or eliminated by appropriate adjustment and placement of computer monitors, lighting control, good preventive vision care habits, and regular professional eye care. We would like to provide you with some tips to reduce the painful vision-related symptoms resulting from computer work from Dr. Jeffrey Anshel, a leading expert, practicing optometrist and author of Visual Ergonomics in the Workplace. I have included these tips at the end of this email. Please feel free to use any/all of this information on your site.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source

May 30, 2006, 10:55 PM CT

Making Nerve Fibers Regenerae

Making Nerve Fibers Regenerae Regrowing the optic nerve: Rat retinas treated with beads containing oncomodulin showed increased growth of axons in the optic nerve (bottom) compared with controls (top). Asterisks mark injury sites.
Scientists at Children's Hospital Boston have discovered a naturally occurring growth factor that stimulates regeneration of injured nerve fibers (axons) in the central nervous system. Under normal conditions, most axons in the mature central nervous system (which consists of the brain, spinal cord and eye) cannot regrow after injury. The previously unrecognized growth factor, called oncomodulin, is described in the May 14 online edition of Nature Neuroscience.

Neuroresearchers Yuqin Yin, MD, PhD, and Larry Benowitz, PhD, who are also on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, did their studies in the optic nerve, which connects nerve cells in the eye's retina to the brain's visual centers, and is often used as a model in studying axon regeneration.

When oncomodulin was added to retinal nerve cells in a Petri dish, with known growth-promoting factors already present, axon growth nearly doubled. No other growth factor was as potent. In live rats with optic-nerve injury, oncomodulin released from tiny sustained-release capsules increased nerve regeneration 5- to 7-fold when given along with a drug that helps cells respond to oncomodulin. Yin, Benowitz and his colleagues also showed that oncomodulin switches on a variety of genes associated with axon growth.

Benowitz, the study's senior investigator, believes oncomodulin could someday prove useful in reversing optic-nerve damage caused by glaucoma, tumors or traumatic injury. In addition, the lab has shown that oncomodulin works on at least one other type of nerve cell, and now plans to test whether it also works on the types of brain cells that would be relevant to treating conditions like stroke and.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

May 24, 2006, 0:16 AM CT

Hope For The Blind

Hope For The Blind Elizabeth Goldring, a senior fellow at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies, looks at an image she created to approximate what she sees when she looks through her seeing machine at an image of a staircase. Photo / Donna Coveney
An MIT poet has developed a small, relatively inexpensive "seeing machine" that can allow people who are blind, or visually challenged like her, to access the Internet, view the face of a friend, "previsit" unfamiliar buildings and more.

Recently the machine received positive feedback from 10 visually challenged people with a range of causes for their vision loss who tested it in a pilot clinical trial. The work was reported in Optometry, the Journal of the American Optometric Association, earlier this year.

The work is led by Elizabeth Goldring, a senior fellow at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies. She developed the machine over the last 10 years, in collaboration with more than 30 MIT students and some of her personal eye doctors. The new device costs about $4,000, low compared to the $100,000 price tag of its inspiration, a machine Goldring discovered through her eye doctor.

Goldring's adventures at the intersection of art and high technology began with a visit to her doctor, Lloyd Aiello, head of the Beetham Eye Institute of the Joslin Diabetes Center. At the time, Goldring was blind. (Surgeries have since restored vision in one eye).

To better examine her eyes, Aiello asked her to go to the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard, where technicians peered into her eyes with a diagnostic device known as a scanning laser opthalmoscope, or SLO. With the machine they projected a simple image directly onto the retina of one eye, past the hemorrhages within the eye that contributed to her blindness. The idea was to determine whether she had any healthy retina left.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source

May 23, 2006, 11:32 PM CT

Cure for reading glasses?

Cure for reading glasses?
It's 10 p.m., and you've finally relaxed into your favorite comfy chair to browse the day's newspaper. Patting your shirt pockets you realize there's a problem, and now you're not relaxed anymore. You can't find your reading glasses. Again!.

Presbyopia---the inability to focus on close objects resulting in blurred vision---affects 100 percent of people by age 50. Historically, laser correction of the intraocular lens for presbyopia has been proposed, but it is risky because there is no way to monitor the procedure---no way for ophthalmologists to see what they are doing to the lens being cut.

But a tool developed at the University of Michigan allows for a potentially noninvasive, painless fix to presbyopia using tiny bubbles that help ophthalmologists reshape the eye's lens and restore its flexibility and focusing ability. Matthew O'Donnell, professor and chair of the U-M Department of Biomedical Research, along with Kyle Hollman, assistant research scientist and adjunct lecturer, and graduate student Todd Erpelding, developed the method. Recently, it was successful when tested in pig lenses.

Presbyopia commonly starts around age 40, O'Donnell says. The predominant belief is that fibers created in the intraocular lens accumulate and stiffen, thus making the lens less flexible. Without that flexibility, the lens can't change shape to focus on near objects, a process called accommodation.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source

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