Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Blind Man Who Could See

Seeing is believing and a 73-year-old man that lost his eyesight thirty years ago can now believe - his sight is back. With the help of a bionic eye, Ron can now track light and make out basic shapes. He says he can short socks for the first time in thirty years.  

Ron's experimental surgery took place at London's Moorfield's eye hospital. A tiny camera mounted on a pair of sunglasses transmits data via a cable to electrodes that sit upon Ron's retinas. When the electrodes are stimulated they transmit messages to the optic nerve in Ron's brain, which in turn allows him to see the light pattern experienced by the camera. 

With training, patients will be able to create meaningful images based on the light patterns they can now see. To date, eighteen people have bionic eyes and more will follow. 

Originally reported by the BBC.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Antibody Injections Help Severe Asthma

Half a million people with severe asthma now have an effective treatment. 

Two groups of researchers from the UK and Canada found injections of mepolizumab, an antibody, help reduce the frequency of severe attacks in people with asthma exacerbated. Aside from decreasing the number of attacks, the treatment also allows asthma patients to decrease their use of steroids, which have multiple negative side effects like weight gain and bone loss. 

This type of asthma is linked to abnormally high levels of white blood cells called eosinophils. The antibody injections bring the white blood cell count down and that prevents the server airway inflammation associated with asthma. 

The treatment reduces attacks by up to 50 percent and increases the quality of life for asthma sufferers

Originally reported by the BBC