WBH Science Week – Edition 4

What's Inside

  • Half of childhood blindness didn't need to happen
  • 3D map made of human retina cells
  • No new cases of river blindness in Nigerian state
  • Aid groups provide free eye care to thousands around the world
  • And, 15 stories about science, medicine and preventing blindness from all over the planet

    Editorial By Chris Hofstader

Welcome to edition four of WBH Science Week. This edition contains 16 articles about science, medicine and preventing blindness from all over the English speaking world.

Some science and medicine related articles that make it to the mainstream media become highly distorted in the time between when the actual scientists publish their research, their university's public relations department gets hold of it and writes the press release and a journalist writes about it for a mainstream publication. It's something like the telephone game: the scientists state the real data, the public relations people try to make it interesting to mainstream publications and mainstream publications sensationalize the story so as to get more clicks. A couple of us at World Blind Herald are planning on writing an "how to" piece about reading science articles and, without spending years learning the subject matter in detail, being able to tell if the story is reasonably accurate or not. This isn't an easy article to write and I'm not sure when we'll get to it but it's on our list.

For now, please do not accept medical advice from the articles you read in this digest, from a podcast, blogs, FaceBook posts or anywhere other than from your physician. None of us at WBH are educated in the science and medicine of blindness so, as editor, the best I can do is a trivial rejection of articles that are obviously bunk but include the others and hope our readers are responsible enough to seek professional advice if and when such is war-anted.

We hope you find this edition informative and please do send us any feedback you may have through the contact form on this page.

Science and Medicine

Half of cases of childhood blindness in US didn't have to happen, new study claims

More than half of sightless children in the United States did not have to lose their vision, according to a new study. The findings suggest the need to prioritize addressing preventable vision loss in all children in America, said study co-author Dr. Scott Lambert, a professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University in California. This story comes to us from: Medical Xpress.

Eye-opening discovery about adult brain's ability to recover vision

A discovery about how some visually impaired adults could start to see offers a new vision of the brain's possibilities. The adult brain has the potential to partially recover from inherited blindness, according to new research. This story came to us from: ScienceDaily.

A Review of Corneal Blindness: Causes and Management

Corneal blindness refers to a group of eye disorders that change the corneal transparency, causing corneal scarring and blindness. The leading causes of corneal blindness include infectious causes, i.e., due to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. The most common predisposing factors are trauma, contact lens usage, or the use of steroid medications. The various other diseases included are trachoma, dry eye disease, keratoconus, ophthalmia neonatorum, and non-infectious uveitis. This story comes to us from: Cureus.

3D map reveals DNA organization within human retina cells

NIH scientists shed light on how genetic architecture determines gene expression, tissue-specific function, and disease phenotype in blinding diseases. This story comes to us from: EurekAlert.

Chemical Treatment Restores Vision in Mouse Model of Inherited Blindness

According to murine research, the adult brain has the potential to partially recover from inherited blindness. This story comes to us from: Technology Networks.

No new cases of river blindness in Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa – NGO

Sightsavers Nigeria, an international NGO says Kaduna, Plateau and Nasarawa states recorded no new cases of river blindness. The information is in a statement issued on Friday by the organisation’s Communication Officer, Ms Joy Tarbo, noting that the states have met World Health
Organisation’s (WHO) threshold in verifying interruption in transmission of the disease. This story comes to us from: News Agency of Nigeria.

Education vital to help patients considering future gene therapies

Australians with inherited retinal disease (IRD) have a strong interest in undergoing gene therapy to prevent and treat blindness – but there’s a critical need for education programs to help them make informed choices about future treatments, new research shows. This story comes to us from: The Hippocratic Post.

New Tech for Gene Therapy Could Advance Longevity

Gene therapy has come a long way since it was first used on humans 33 years ago. Since 2000, incremental progress has expanded the use of ex vivo gene therapy (where cells are harvested from a person, genetically modified, and then infused back into the person’s bloodstream). And in vivo gene therapy, which involves injecting genes directly into the body, has proven safe and effective in a number of clinical trials. It is becoming available as a treatment to a wider range of circumstances. One realm in which in vivo gene therapy has really taken off is in treating diseases of the retina, including macular degeneration. Such cases involve injection of therapies into the eye, which sounds unpleasant, but the strategy has been wildly successful. This story comes to us from: NEO.LIFE.

Nanoscope received NIH support for its first-in-class engineered mechanosensitive channel based gene therapy for glaucoma

Nanoscope received Direct Phase II SBIR grant from National Institutes of Health (NIH) for developing an innovative approach to autonomously regulate pressure for treatment of Glaucoma in a gene-agnostic manner. This story comes to us from: EurekAlert.

American Academy of Ophthalmology: One in nine patients with wet age-related macular degeneration skip follow-up

The researchers found that 11.0 percent of patients were lost to follow-up, while 89.0 percent of patients had a follow-up within 12 months. Odds of being lost to follow-up were greater among patients older than 90 years. This story comes to us from: Medical Xpress.

No Longer Out of Sight, Effort Gets Underway to Combat Treatable Blindness

Africa and Latin America have the highest rates in the world of treatable sight problems, but a Spanish NGO is finding innovative ways to reverse this situation. This story comes to us from: voanews.com.

LI Man, 20, Could Be Blind In 30 Days From 'Brutal' Disease

Christopher Backlund, 20, is losing his eyesight even more quickly than he ever could have imagined. October is Blindness Awareness Month, according to the U.S. Department of Education, aimed at raising awareness about those living with blindness and impaired vision. But for Backlund, the month has become all too real: When Patch first interviewed Backlund in August, he knew his situation was dire: In July, he was diagnosed with Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, which causes vision loss and often presents in young males — and told he could be blind within six months. This story comes to us from: Patch.

video shows YouTuber helping 1000 people cure blindness

Jimmy “MrBeast” is no stranger to philanthropic efforts, and in a recent video leak, one of his next major projects has been revealed. Fans recorded the intro at the event where MrBeast was working on his video and leaked it onto TikTok. In the leaked video, Jimmy stated that he was going to help 1,000 blind people get back vision, but details are scarce. This story comes to us from: Sportskeeda.

Preventing Blindness

Rate of childhood vision screening decreased substantially between 2016 and 2020

A large survey-based database, the percentage of children receiving vision screening decreased significantly from 69.6% to 60.1% between 2016 and 2020. The prevalence of reported unmet needs for vision care increased significantly between 2019 and 2020. This story comes to us from: 2 Minute Medicine.

2500 people at risk of blindness in Bilaspur will soon undergo cataract surgery

On this occasion, he said that 2500 cataract patients have been identified in the district. Surgery is required in the coming days. Surgery was decided on time. All treatments are provided free under Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Strict instructions were issued to all the eye assistants who participated in the meeting not to be lax in this campaign. The aim of this campaign is to save everyone from blindness through timely surgery. This story comes to us from: News Waali.

2,365 Visually Impaired Receive Free Eye Treatment In Rivers

An estimated 2,365 visually impaired persons in Rivers State have received free eye care services at the Lulu-Briggs Foundation, Port Harcourt.
The care services range from eye test to treatment and surgeries.
Chairman of the foundation, Dr. Siene Lulu-Briggs, said the foundation’s goal was to help treat vision impairment and prevent blindness. This story comes to us from: The Tide News Online.

2022 Onchocerciasis Treatment Campaign : Centre Region Records 80 Per cent Coverage Rate

Having come to the end of the mass distribution of Mectizan® medication against Onchocerciasis or River Blindness for 2022, the Centre Regional Delegation of Public Health held a review and planning meeting. Which was attended by representatives of Helen Keller International, HKI, the implementing organisation in Cameroon of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID-funded Act to End NTDs/West programme with FHI360 as prime. The programme supports the Ministry of Public Health in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases. This story comes to us from: Cameroon-Tribune.


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