WBH Science Week – Edition 13

What's Inside

  • China launches cataract elimination program in Cambodia
  • New mechanism for vision loss discovered
  • Retina regeneration discovered in zebra fish
  • And, six more articles about the science and medicine related to blindness

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

This is the third or fourth week in a row in which we found relatively few articles about science, medicine and preventing blindness in the mainstream media. In fact, it's the second or third consecutive week in which we had zero articles about preventing blindness. As the news digest and science digest are done concurrently and split before publication, this is the fiftieth week we've curated these digests, slightly less than a year. In the US we're in the holiday season so maybe November and December are slow months for science and medicine news, it's our first year so we haven't enough of a sample size to determine if this is an annual trend or if it's a fluke. Either way, we try to find as much information for our readers every week and present it in a manner that's easy to consume.

This week, the article I found most compelling was the one about the carpenter who went blind because he ignored the infection he got from a splinter. Disability, as a minority, has certain characteristics that are entirely unique from other minorities. First, disabled people are the only minority that intersects with every other segment of society – we're rich, we're poor; we're all races, creeds, genders and every other identity as well. Apropos to this article though, we are also the only minority that someone can join in an instant. This carpenter probably got splinters, little cuts and scrapes with frequency as they come with that kind of work. This time, the splinter caused an infection which led to a stroke and now he's one of us. I'm sure this happens somewhere in the world every day and it's an aspect of blindness we rarely discuss. My blindness comes from RP so my vision slipped away slowly, I can't imagine what this poor man must feel as he lost his vision, his career and much more all in a single incident.

This will be one of the last science digests to be published on this site. It will continue on World Blind Herald, a new and exciting site that embraces the fundamental principle that not all blind people share the same values and that the blind community is not homogeneous. You should check out our "coming soon" page and maybe poke around the site a little. WBH officially goes online on January 4 but the site is adding features and changing a lot as we move toward our launch date.

Science and Medicine

China-aided cataract blindness elimination project launches in Cambodia

A China-aided cataract blindness elimination project was launched on Tuesday, aiming at helping eliminate cataract blindness in southeastern Cambodia's Prey Veng province. Speaking at the ceremony, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly expressed his sincere thanks to China's GX Foundation for funding the project, which would provide free eye check-ups, treatment and surgery for all cataract patients in the province.
"This project is essential to helping to eliminate cataract blindness for the Cambodian people, and it will greatly contribute to relieving difficulties for cataract patients," he said.
Through the project, the GX Foundation deployed two mobile eye-treatment centers at the Prey Veng Provincial Hospital and sent Chinese doctors to work with their Cambodian counterparts to offer free cataract surgeries to patients in the province.
This story comes to us from: Xinhua.

Symptoms and treatment of retinitis pigmentosa

One of the main symptoms, which can occur from an early age, is difficulty in vision in poorly lit environments. This story comes to us from: Emergency Live.

New potential mechanism for vision loss discovered

AMD is the main cause of blindness and severe visual impairment in Germany. This story comes to us from: Ophthalmology Times.

A 46-Year-Old Beauty Pageant Winner With Sudden Blindness

A 46-year-old woman presents to the emergency department (ED) with sudden-onset blindness in her right eye. This story comes to us from: Medscape Reference.

Carpenter went blind after suffering a splinter in his hand at work

A carpenter suffered a life-threatening stroke, blindness, sepsis and pneumonia – after a wood splinter in his hand got infected. Dave Parkyn was left blind in his right eye, partially sighted in his left and physically disabled after the stroke at the age of just 28. This story comes to us from: Wales Online.

Researchers identify a critical inhibitory site in an energy-producing enzyme, which can lead to rational design of antibiotics

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health problem. Many efforts have been made to reduce the burden of AMR perils globally since 2013 (Figure 1A). Yet, threats from some species continue to rise regardless: drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae is one of five urgent threats. Resistance to ceftriaxone, the last option for an empirical first-line antibiotic against Neisseria gonorrhoeae in most countries, has been reported and continues to emerge globally. The gonococcal infection could become untreatable due to a high degree of AMR, which would increase serious complications: infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and increased transmission of HIV, and neonatal keratoconjunctivitis that can lead to blindness. This story comes to us from: EurekAlert.

Could a readily available vitamin supplement help?

A headache is a common occurrence for many of us, but for Effie Iemma , it was the first sign that she had glaucoma. "I had an eye test, just my normal routine eye test about six months earlier [but] I kept complaining about headaches … so, it all started from there," Effie says. This story comes to us from: ABC.

Study identifies a signaling cascade behind retina regeneration in zebrafish

The findings could help inform treatments for blindness in humans. This story comes to us from: M Health Lab.

First patients screened at The Baton Rouge Clinic with Verily's Retinal Service on World Sight Day

“When advancements in technology are coupled with talented physicians, lives can be changed for the better. The Baton Rouge Clinic, AMC is committed to caring for this community and today we are thrilled to be able to bring the latest state of the art technology to Baton Rouge in the form of the new Verily Retinal Service. We are hopeful that with this device we can offer another platform to detect disease earlier and prevent blindness in diabetic patients so that they can continue to see the beauty of Baton Rouge." This story comes to us from: Baton Rouge Clinic.


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