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Move Over Titanic, I Have Something Better

Video Included:
Screenshot from video of Human Retina Captured by an Advanced Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope
Are you excited about the new 3D version of the movie Titanic? I’m not. To me, it’s just 194 minutes of Kate and Leonardo running around a big ship together until it hits a big iceberg. Spoiler alert: One of them doesn’t make it. If I were a movie critic, I’d give it a “meh.”

However, I am very excited about a five-second video (below) of live human retina, compliments of Dr. Jacque Duncan, an FFB-funded doctor and researcher of the University of California, San Francisco, and her colleague Dr. Austin Roorda, of the University of California, Berkeley. They captured it using an innovative imaging system known as an adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope (AOSLO), which is, basically, a high-tech microscope with video capability.

While this cutting-edge technology is not widely available yet, it gives us a wonderfully detailed look at live cones, the retinal cells that provide central, daytime and color vision. The ability to look at live cone cells is very helpful in understanding how diseases affect them and if potential treatments are keeping them alive and healthy.

Retinal imaging and vision testing are crucial to evaluating emerging therapies and making proper diagnoses. We recently posted an article on our website which reviews such tests.

While I am not a big fan of the movie Titanic, I am very intrigued by the research that has revealed interesting facts about how the ship met its demise. There’s a very well-done special on National Geographic TV telling the story of that research and what the scientists discovered. For me, there’s nothing like curling up in front of the TV with a boatload of popcorn for a good science story.

In case you didn’t know, April 15 is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I wonder if you can claim losses from striking an iceberg as a tax deduction.

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