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Posts tagged amd

Social Media Alert: Top 13 Retinal Research Advancements of 2013

Top 13 Retinal Research Advancement of 2013I admittedly am not a heavy social-media user — I am not much for “tweeting” — but as I put together this list of the top retinal research advancements of 2013, I realized it would make great content for social media. Of course, my FFB colleagues will be sure to get the list out via our Facebook and Twitter pages.
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Stem-Cell Research: Moving at the Speed of Light

Dr. Dennis CleggWhen it comes to designing stem-cell-based treatments for retinal diseases, Dennis Clegg, Ph.D., is one of the go-to researchers. He not only heads his own lab at the University of California at Santa Barbara; he’s the recipient of a CIRM grant for a treatment of age-related macular degeneration, and can turn complicated science into a compelling narrative, as this TED Talk demonstrates.
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All-Star Vision

When the Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones makes a great catch — a feat the Gold Glove centerfielder accomplishes on a regular basis — he isn’t thinking about his retinas. But in the five seconds it takes a baseball to leave an opponent’s bat and reach Jones’ glove, his retinas are processing an enormous amount of real-time visual information — continual changes in the contrast, velocity and trajectory of the ball as it rockets out of the infield, reaches high into the stadium lights (or the sun) and descends into the outfield.
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FDA Approval of an iPhone Eye Test

Example Interface of the myVisionTrack app.

Retinal diseases may be incurable, at the moment, but, with the help of specialized training and technology, they are not unmanageable. In fact, a savvy patient working with a conscientious eye doctor can adjust relatively well to the various stages of vision loss — via, for instance, mobility or assistive-technology training. And in the case of wet age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, there are treatments that slow vision loss.
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A New Therapeutic Trick for Old Dogs

an image of a retina, courtesy of Dr. Nicolás Cuenca, University of Alicante.A Foundation-funded research team at the University of Pennsylvania — in collaboration with scientists from Michigan State University, the University of Florida and the University of Miami — has found a remarkable way to restore function to fledgling cones, the retinal cells most critical to our daily lives. Drs. András Komáromy and Gutavo Aguirre injected a high dose of a protein called ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) into the eyes of older dogs with achromatopsia, a retinal disease that causes day blindness from cone dysfunction and degeneration. What happened next is extraordinary.
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Appreciating the Beauty of the Retina

An image of a mouse retina captured by Dr. Luca Della Santina, University of Washington. The retina is an amazingly elegant and complex tissue lining the back of the eye. Retinas make vision possible; without them, we can’t see. But most people never think about their retinas —  unless, of course, they have a retinal condition affecting their vision.

I’ll always remember my first Foundation Fighting Blindness conference, when I heard Dr. Dean Bok, of the University of California, Los Angeles, discuss the retina’s design and how it worked. I was new to the field and just learning. Dr. Bok opened his presentation by saying that, as a student, he was “seduced” by the beauty of retinal science. By the end of his impassioned talk, I, too, was hooked.
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My Race to Cure Blindness

Michael Stone in a bike race Although a disease called cone-rod dystrophy has rendered me legally blind, I’m known, in certain circles, as a world-class triathlete. I swim as well as bike and run (often on mountain trails). I began competing before my vision deteriorated, and I’ve since learned to use my other senses. In fact, I like to think of my feet as my eyes. I take an awful lot of steps, and I don’t land heavily. If I’m on a trail and step on something that doesn’t feel right, I hop off, then move quickly forward. It’s usually on the run where I beat my competition.

But you know what? I can no longer shop for groceries.

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Curing Blindness, Part 2: Dick’s Story

Image of Dick CoulsonTwo days ago, as part of FFB’s “Light the Way to a Cure” fundraising campaign, I shared the story of Corey Haas, as an example of clinical trial participants benefitting from gene therapy studies the Foundation supports. In his case, the therapy’s for a retinal disease called Leber congenital amaurosis. Today, I’d like to share the story of Dick Coulson (pictured, left), who has age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in people age 55 and older. It’s also the target of two treatments that are currently in clinical, or human, trials, both of which are derived from stem cells.
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Genes Not Helpful in Predicting Onset of Late AMD

“Checkers,” an entry in the 2011 Midwest Cream Cheese Competition.

With a population of about 17,000, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, is a typical Midwestern community and, according to its website, “a thriving city and wonderful place to call home.” With attractions such as the beautiful 6,000-acre Beaver Dam Lake and the Midwest Cream Cheese Competition, who am I to argue? But most important, at least in the fight against blindness, Beaver Dam plays a big role in the search for knowledge about age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
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Tempering the Immune System to Save Vision

A retina with dry AMD. The yellow spots (called drusen) accumulate and can cause damage in AMD. The human body has highly impressive mechanisms to protect itself from harm. For example, a group of molecules known as the complement system work with antibodies to kill invading bacteria by punching holes in them and letting the internal contents leak out.
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