WBH Science Week – Edition 2

What's Inside

  • Blind boy sees for the first time
  • Discovering why diabetes causes blindness
  • First retinal gene therapy starts trials
  • Woman goes blind when brain tumor is diagnosed as menapause
  • And, about a dozen more articles about the science and medicine of blindness

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

This is the second week of our experiment of moving the science and medicine articles into their own Science Week article. We got very positive feedback about this last week and will continue doing it into the future.

It's also likely that the "Preventing Blindness" section of the news digest will be moved into the science article as well. "Preventing Blindness" is half medicine and science and about half blindness organizations so we'll split it and put the science stories here and those about organizations in the news digest.

Science and Medicine

Heartwarming video shows blind boy 'seeing' for first time

A mom captured video of when her visually impaired son got the chance to "see" a firefighter by feeling the equipment and uniform with his hands. This story comes to us from: CNN.

Uncovering the key process that contributes to vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have uncovered a key process that contributes to vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes. The findings could lead to new treatments that can be used before any irreversible vision loss has occurred. This story comes to us from: Medical Xpress.

Malawi becomes first country in southern Africa to eliminate trachoma

Malawi has become the first country in southern Africa and the fifth in Africa to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem – a disease that affected 7.6 million people nationwide in 2015. The disease is a devastating condition which can turn eyelashes inwards so that they scrape painfully against the eyeball – left untreated, this can cause permanent sight loss. The elimination, announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) on September 21, 2022, follows 12 years of sustained action led by the Government. This story comes to us from: Africa Science News.

Blind toddler nearly died after IV mishap

A blind toddler nearly died and may have difficulty walking after his foot filled with intravenous fluid which was allegedly left unchecked by hospital staff for seven hours. This story comes to us from: Otago Daily Times Online News.

Cilia in 3D: Miniature train station discovered

Cilia are small hair-like organelles that extend from cells and perform many functions, including motility and signaling. Researchers have now revealed that cilia have a specialized transport hub at their base, where trains and cargos are assembled for transport throughout the cilia. Since defects in this cilia transport system can lead to e.g. cystic kidneys or blindness, the results published in Science also provide new insights into molecular basis for a variety of diseases. This story comes to us from: ScienceDaily.

New imaging technique could speed up development of eye disease treatments

Researchers have developed a simple and fast way to perform optoretinography, an imaging technique that measures light-induced functional activity in the eye's retina, the network of neurons in the back of our eyes responsible for detecting light and initiating vision. More than 50 percent of people in the U.S. over age 60 are affected by diseases that impact the retina's function in ways that reduce eyesight and can progress to blindness if not treated. The new approach could help accelerate the development of new treatments for eye diseases. This story comes to us from: ScienceDaily.

Will experience support use of first-ever retinal gene therapy?

Recent reports of retinal atrophy have raised concerns on potential long-term safety. Voretigene neparvovec (Luxturna, Spark Therapeutics) is the first causal treatment for biallelic RPE65 mutation–associated retinal disease, which regularly progresses to legal blindness. The one-time gene therapy aims to deliver the correct coding sequence of the human RPE65 gene to the retinal pigment epithelium and is performed via subretinal injection following vitrectomy. This story comes to us from: Ophthalmology Times.

Atsena Therapeutics Announces Late-Breaker Presentation at the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2022 Annual Meeting

LCA1 is a monogenic eye disease that disrupts the function of the retina and results in early and severe vision impairment or blindness. This story comes to us from: Yahoo Finance.

FDA approves Infant Bacterial Therapeutics' request for a new orphan drug designation

Orphan drugs are either drugs or biologics intended for the treatment, … of prematurity (ROP), a major cause of blindness in children. This story comes to us from: Yahoo Finance.

New NIH RADx Initiatives Focus on Accessibility, Innovation in At-Home COVID-19 Tests

The National Institutes of Health's Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Tech program has announced two new initiatives to promote the development of accessible and innovative at-home and point-of-care COVID-19 tests. This story comes to us from: 360Dx.

More eye patients go blind after Avastin injections

There's another cluster of eye infections, some causing blindness, in patients using Avastin for macular degeneration. This story comes to us from: Fierce Pharma.

These 3 causes can lead to amaurosis

What does amaurosis mean? Amaurosis is the medical term for blindness. People are considered blind if they have less than 2 percent of the vision of normal sighted people and/or have a field of vision that is less than 5 degrees. Blindness can be a congenital defect or can develop over the course of life as a result of diseases such as glaucoma or injuries. This story comes to us from: UP Jobs News.

Woman with life-threatening brain tumour that left her partially blind was told symptoms were due to menopause

A woman who was suffering from the symptoms of a life-threatening brain tumour was told she was just going through the “change”. The 51-year-old was given treatment for menopause symptoms instead of being offered a scan. Lynn O'Toole, 51, from Seacombe, Wirral, visited her GP in early 2020 after she started to feel unwell. However, she was initially put on a course of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) when her GP said she was suffering from symptoms of the menopause. This story comes to us from: Hull Live.


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