New study shows mice get back vision
Washington D.C., July 12 : Vision in mammals can be restored, shows experiments conducted, for the first time, under the leadership of a Stanford University School of Medicine investigator.
In experiments in mice the scientists coaxed optic-nerve cables, responsible for conveying visual information from the eye to the brain, into regenerating after they had been completely severed, and found that they could retrace their former routes and re-establish connections with the appropriate parts of the brain.
That unprecedented, if partial, restoration could pave the way to future work that enables blind people to see.
The animals’ condition prior to the scientists’ efforts to regrow the eye-to brain-connections resembled glaucoma, the second-leading cause of blindness after cataracts.
Cataracts can often be surgically removed, but there’s no cure for glaucoma, said the study’s senior author, Andrew Huberman.
Glaucoma, caused by excessive pressure on the optic nerve, affects nearly 70 million people worldwide. Vision loss due to optic-nerve damage can also accrue from injuries, retinal detachment, pituitary tumors, various brain cancers and other sources.
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