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Archive for the News Commentary Category

Total Blindness and Non-24 Sleep Disorder

The circadian clockRecently, you may have been hearing and seeing commercials for a blindness-related sleep disorder called Non-24. In the radio ads I’ve heard, the narrator says he’s totally blind and suffers from the condition. The media spots are sponsored by Vanda Pharmaceuticals, which recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a drug called Hetlioz to treat Non-24.
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Stem Cell Researcher Requests Retraction of Papers on Purported Breakthrough

Haruko ObokataSometimes research, especially early research, isn’t all it’s initially cracked up to be.

Such is the case with a purported advancement I blogged about last month in which researchers reported that soaking cells in a mildly acidic solution might be a safer and easier way to make stem cells. Investigators from the Riken Institute had just published two papers in the prestigious journal Nature detailing the promising approach.
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How Growing Up a Blind Man’s Son Inspired the New Sitcom ‘Growing Up Fisher’

J.K. Simmons plays Mel Fisher, a blind lawyer and father, in the new NBC sitcom "Growing Up Fisher."If you’ve been watching the Olympics (and who hasn’t?), you’ve probably seen the promo ads for a new show called Growing Up Fisher, which will debut on NBC this Sunday, at 10:30 p.m., after the network airs the games’ closing ceremonies. And if you’ve seen the ads, you’ve probably noticed that the family patriarch, Mel Fisher, is—well—blind. And, yes, it’s a sitcom.
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An FFB Board Member’s Perspective on Her Experience with Acupuncture

Moira Shea, an FFB board member who says she has benefited from acupuncture therapy, at home with her guide dog, Finnegan.A few weeks ago, the Foundation’s chief research officer, Dr. Steve Rose, authored a post about acupuncture that generated significant interest from readers at Eye on the Cure and on FFB’s Facebook page. The impetus for his post was a feasibility study at Johns Hopkins University, in which Dr. Ava Bittner, O.D., Ph.D., found that eight of 12 people treated with acupuncture had, as Dr. Bittner reported, “significant vision improvements in night vision, dark adaptation and/or visual field.”
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A $2 Million Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Video Included:
Art Garfunkle
When most people think of Art Garfunkel, they not only think of him as half the folk-pop duo Simon & Garfunkel; they think of him as the singer of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which includes the lyrics “I’ll take your part/ when darkness comes/ and pain is all around.” Appropriately enough, you can now also think of Garfunkel as a major player in the fight against blindness.
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Nobel Prize Winners Have Big Impact on Emerging Retinal Treatments

Video Included:
Shinya Yamanaka, co-winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Medicine.For science geeks like me, the announcement of Nobel Prize for Medicine winners is always exciting news. But this year’s two recipients are especially near and dear to my heart, because their groundbreaking work is having an enormous impact on sight-saving retinal research.

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First Usher Syndrome Gene Therapy Patient in the News

Image of Test TubeI was very heartened to hear about and then see a recent news story on the first patient to be treated in the Usher syndrome 1B gene therapy clinical trial at Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University. When I saw the big smile on the face of Michelle Kopf, the young woman featured in the article, it brought a smile to my face.
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Stepping Lively – a Shoe in Development for the Visually Impaired

Walking ShoesAmazing what a little ingenuity, coupled with a basic need, can make happen. Twenty-four-year-old Anirudh Sharma, a computer engineer from India, has, according to a recent article in The Economist, come up with a design for a shoe that would help the visually impaired get where they need to go – without a cane, a dog or any other form of assistance.
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Retinal Research Developments Go Mainstream (at The Wall Street Journal)

Lab BeakersWe, at Eye on the Cure, like to keep folks up-to-date on the latest retinal research developments, as soon as they’re vetted – meaning verified as legitimate – and/or come in. But we also appreciate when the mainstream media chimes in, especially when they cite the Foundation’s efforts and expertise.

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A Woman With Stargardt Disease Pursues the Miss USA Title

Video Included
Connor Boss
What a difference a year makes. Last year, competing in the teen category of the Miss Florida USA pageant, Connor Boss stumbled on a set of stairs while making her way to the stage. Only family and friends knew the reason why. This year, the 18-year-old will compete in the same pageant as an adult. And thanks to ABC’s Good Morning America, she’ll do so as someone known to have Stargardt disease.
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