Tuesday, September 29, 2009

mom forgoes treatment to save daughter from blindness

Monique Zimmerman-Stein has been nearly blind for the last two years from Stickler syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. She recently decided to forego her own treatment to save funds to treat her two daughters, who also suffer from the condition, reports Lane DeGregory of the St. Petersburg Times.

The family is covered under husband Gary's Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan, but that coverage only pays for 80 percent of medical expenses.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

In the New York Times Really? column, Anahad O'Connor explores the claim that blindness may heighten other senses. "In one series of studies, neuroscientists at McGill University tested blind and sighted subjects for pitch perception and their ability to locate sounds." The researchers found that "those who were born blind did best," while "those who became blind as small children were slightly behind, and those who lost their vision after age 10 did no better than the sighted subjects," indicating that a young brain could be rewired so that visual-processing areas were used for other purposes.

Meanwhile, brain-imaging studies indicated that blind subjects who were best able to locate sound were engaging both the auditory and the visual areas of the cortex.
Here is a nice summary of the visual system from Mcgill's guided tour of the brain

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, September 28, 2009

Intravitreal injection of triamcinolone may improve vision in retinal vein occlusion

Interior of posterior half of bulb of left eye...Image via Wikipedia

Medscape reported that, according to a study published in the Sept. issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, intravitreal injection of the corticosteroid triamcinolone may improve vision in retinal vein occlusion.

Researchers from the Standard Care vs. Corticosteroid for Retinal Vein Occlusion (SCORE) Study Research Group compared "the efficacy and safety of one-mg and four-mg doses of preservative-free intravitreal triamcinolone vs. observation for eyes with vision loss associated with macular edema secondary to perfused" central retinal vein occlusion "in 271 participants." They found that the the one-mg group had five-fold greater odds of achieving the primary outcome, as "did the four-mg group," with both the "one-mg and four-mg groups" being "not significantly different from each other."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Researchers advancing new ways of helping blind people see

On its front page, the New York Times reported that 38 patients from the US, Europe, and Mexico are beginning an intensive three-year research project involving electrodes surgically implanted in their eyes, a camera on the bridge of their noses, and a video processor strapped to their waists, in a burst of recent research aimed at one of science's most-sought-after holy grails: making the blind see.

Researchers involved in the project, the artificial retina, say they have plans to develop the technology to allow people to read, write and recognize faces. Meanwhile, other approaches to treating blindness include gene therapy, which has produced improved vision in people who are blind from one rare congenital disease. Stem cell research is considered promising, although far from producing results, and other studies involve a light-responding protein and retinal transplants.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, September 25, 2009

Drug-dispensing contact lens may treat eye conditions

Researchers have developed contact lenses with a sustained release of medication to treat glaucoma and other conditions.

Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD, director of the Laboratory for Biomaterials and Drug Delivery at Children's Hospital Boston, collaborator Joseph Ciolino, MD, of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and colleagues at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) described their prototype lens in the July 2009 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.

The researchers created a two-layer CL with an inner drug-bearing biodegradable polymer film known as PLGA. Both PLGA and pHEMA—used for the coating—have been well studied and are already FDA-approved for ocular use.

In laboratory testing, the prototype lenses dispensed ciprofloxacin for 30 days in amounts sufficient to kill pathogens. Researchers see application for conditions including glaucoma and dry eye, which require frequent daily eye drops. The technology won in the life sciences track in MIT's 100K Entrepreneurship Competition.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Information System for Blind and Visually Impaired

The artificial intelligence group at Freie Universität Berlin, under the direction of the computer science professor Raúl Rojas, has developed a new type of information system for blind and visually impaired individuals.

“InformA” is a small computer that is connected wirelessly to the Internet. The device is operated like a radio. The user can choose between different information channels. By pressing a button, the time or the weather will be announced, but there are also current newspapers available as audio files...

via Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Smoking Bans Reduce Heart Attacks

Community smoking bans have an immediate and dramatic effect on reducing heart attacks, according to two new analyses of laws in the USA, Canada, and Europe. Researchers in both studies found that heart attack rates fall 17 percent within a year after smoking bans take effect, as reported in the USA Today.

After three years, the analyses indicated that the rate of heart attacks had decreased about 26 percent, the Wall Street Journal reports. The findings are based on analyses of studies that involved a total of approximately 24 million people. The researchers cautioned against basing hard conclusions on their findings, however, because of statistical flaws in their reports from aggregating data from studies with various designs and goals.

Exactly what can breathing in the smoke from someone else's cigarette do to you? It can:

Make the blood sticky and more prone to clotting
Stiffen the arteries
Disrupt crucial functions of the arteries
Decrease good HDL cholesterol
Stimulate inflammation
Make heart attacks worse
Increase damage from free radicals
Increase risk of heart rhythm problems
Increase insulin resistance

Quit smoking without gaining weight

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, September 21, 2009

Merck amp; Co., Inc. has launched SAFLUTAN® (tafluprost) in the United Kingdom and Spain, and additional launches in other countries are expected over the next several months, pending regulatory approvals, the Company said today.

SAFLUTAN is a preservative free, synthetic analogue of the prostaglandin F2α for the reduction of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in appropriate patients with primary open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. SAFLUTAN is in Phase III in the U.S.

Merck amp; Co., Inc. which operates in many countries as Merck Sharp amp; Dohme or MSD, and Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. announced a worldwide licensing agreement for tafluprost. Under the terms of the agreement, Merck agreed to pay an undisclosed fee as well as milestones and royalty payments based on future sales of tafluprost (both preserved and preservative-free formulations) in exchange for exclusive commercial rights to tafluprost in western Europe (excluding Germany), North America, South America and Africa. Santen will retain commercial rights to tafluprost in most countries in eastern Europe, northern Europe and in countries in the Asia Pacific area, including Japan. Merck will provide promotion support to Santen in Germany and Poland. If tafluprost is approved in the U.S., Santen will have the option to co-promote it there. SAFLUTAN marketed by MSD, and TAFLOTAN®, marketed by Santen in respective territories, is the only preservative-free prostaglandin currently available for patients with glaucoma.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

ultrasound eyebrow lift

Food and Drug Administration has cleared a new ultrasound eyebrow lift device, called the Ulthera System, to be marketed to dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

Ulthera claimed that the "noninvasive device...uses ultrasound imaging to target ultrasound energy that enables significant lifting of the skin. The press release went on to say that focused ultrasound energy triggers the body's natural healing response, resulting in new and improved collagen support and gradual firming, tightening, and actual lifting of skin tissue over time, with clinical studies indicating no serious adverse events and no recuperation time.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

September is Home Eye Safety Awareness Month

A sailor using welding gogglesImage via Wikipedia

One in five at-home eye injuries are due to home repair or power tools according to results from the “Sixth Annual Eye Injury Snapshot” by the American Society of Ocular Trauma (ASOT).

Every year, there are more than 2.5 million eye injuries; yet, the use of protective eyewear could have prevented 90% of these injuries. When starting any project, whether it is cleaning surfaces with chemicals, working on the car or doing yard work, PBA asks everyone to wear eyewear approved by the American National Standards Institute. The eyewear should have the “Z-87” logo stamped on the frames and can be purchased at hardware stores and home building centers.

PBA offers these tips on how to protect children’s eyes at home:

Teach children not to run around with forks, knives, combs, or toothbrushes.

Keep detergents, cleaning supplies, nail polish remover, mouthwash, and makeup in locked cabinets or out of reach.

Set a good example by wearing eye protection when using ammonia-based cleaning supplies or while working on projects.

Do not allow young children to use combs, brushes, or hairspray unless you watch or help them.

Prompt others who enter the work area to wear eye protection.

If you wear prescription glasses, many safety glasses or goggles will fit over your regular glasses. Ask your doctor what he or she recommends.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that two months ago, surgeons at the Wills Eye Institute implanted a small array of electrodes in the back of Michael Adler's left eye. Now, in the last few weeks -- with the aid of a small video camera in his sunglasses that transmits images to his retinal implant -- he has begun to gain some limited vision.

To date, surgeons have implanted the devices in the retinas of 32 people around the world. All have a severe form of retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited disease that causes retinal degeneration. The retinal implant bypasses damaged cells in the eye, transmitting signals to the same part of the brain that registers images in people with normal vision. While the resulting black-and-white images are very low-resolution, consisting of just 60 pixels, they do allow Adler to see the outlines of doors and sidewalks, and he can pick out plates on the dinner table

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

According to a study in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, the antibiotic Zithromax [azithromycin], which is widely used in Africa to treat the eyesight-robbing infection trachoma, seems to help prevent Ethiopian children from dying of other diseases.

For the study, researchers from the Carter Center in Atlanta compared villages where children received the antibiotic Zithromax to villages where treatment was delayed a year. The antibiotic cut the death rate in half, and the researchers speculate it helped prevent deaths from pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria, the biggest killers of Ethiopian children.

The AP notes that trachoma is caused by bacteria that spreads to the eyes from fingers, clothing or, some researchers think, from flies. Over the years, blindness develops through repeated infections and scarring.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Judge excludes testimony of expert witness in contact-lens solution lawsuits

Lens cover for storing contact lens.Image via Wikipedia

US District Judge David C. Norton has thrown out testimony from an expert witness in a combined series of lawsuits against Bausch amp; Lomb, Inc. over ReNu with Moisture Loc, a contact-lens solution the company recalled three years ago because its use was linked to fusarium keratitis, a fungal eye infection that can lead to blindness.

In his Aug. 28 ruling, Norton refused the plaintiffs' bid to admit into evidence testimony by Elisabeth J. Cohen, MD, of the Jefferson Medical College and the Wills Eye Hospital. Norton said that Dr. Cohen's theory, in the way she presented it before the court, "is built on an unsupported hypothesis, and is thus fundamentally flawed and must be excluded."

The AP reports that Norton "said there's no reliable scientific basis for arguing that MoistureLoc caused another 1,024 lens wearers across the" US "to contract assorted bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections." The judge ruled that "attorneys relying on the expert opinion of" Dr. Cohen "did not submit any peer-reviewed studies, articles, or case reports concluding that there is a causal relationship between MoistureLoc and non-Fusarium infections."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Bluehost Review