Women 65 or older who have even mild retinopathy, a disease of blood vessels in the retina, are more likely to have cognitive decline and related vascular changes in the brain, according to a multi-institutional study led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The findings suggest that a relatively simple eye screening could serve as a marker for cognitive changes related to vascular disease, allowing for early diagnosis and treatment, potentially reducing the progression of cognitive impairment to dementia. As retinopathy usually is caused by Type II diabetes or hypertension, a diagnosis could indicate early stages of these diseases, before they are clinically detectable. Early diagnosis could allow for lifestyle or drug interventions when they might be most effective.
Wii remotes are not all about fun and games. Scientists can use them to assess and diagnose children with an abnormal head position caused by eye diseases. As described in a recent Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science article, researchers developed a low-cost digital head posture measuring device with Nintendo Wiimotes to help diagnose this condition, medically called ocular torticollis. "Torticollis occurs in about 1.3% of children, " said author, Jeong-Min Hwang, MD, of Seoul National University College of Medicine. "Accurate measurement of the angle of the abnormal head position is crucial for evaluating disease progression and determining treatment or surgical plans in parties with ocular torticollis." Hwang and his colleagues point out that in clinical practice where it can be difficult to get reliable data from children whose heads move constantly, a digital head posture measuring systems using electronic devices such as the motion tracking capability offered by Wiimotes would be an ideal alternative.
RUB researchers explain channelrhodopsin Controlling nerve cells with the aid of light: this is made possible by optogenetics. It enables, for example, the investigation of neurobiological processes with unprecedented spatial and temporal precision. The key tool of optogenetics is the light-activated protein channelrhodopsin. Biophysicists from Bochum and Berlin have now succeeded in explaining the switching mechanism through an interdisciplinary approach. The researchers report on their findings in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Redistribution of water molecules Until now, little has been known about the mechanism of the protein - especially about how the channel opens. However, deeper understanding is a prerequisite in order to be able to use the light-controlled protein specifically for neurobiological applications.
Our senses aren't just delivering a strict view of what's going on in the world; they're affected by what's going on in our heads. A new study finds that hungry people see food-related words more clearly than people who've just eaten. The study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that this change in vision happens at the earliest, perceptual stages, before higher parts of the brain have a chance to change the messages coming from the eyes. Psychologists have known for decades that what's going on inside our head affects our senses. For example, poorer children think coins are larger than they are, and hungry people think pictures of food are brighter. RĂ mi Radel of University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France, wanted to investigate how this happens - whether it's right away, as the brain receives signals from the eyes, or a little later, as the brain's higher-level thinking processes get involved.
Large changes in intraocular pressure (IOP), also known as the pressure within the eye, in patients with glaucoma, tends to be associated with a progression of the disease that can result in permanent damage to a person's optic nerve and their vision. The IOP fluctuates throughout the day, yet so far, eye pressure can only be measured clinically, and is therefore restricted to a clinic's daytime opening hours. A new study, published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, has provided parents with an Icare Rebound Tonometer to evaluate IOP patterns in normal children at home. The device has produced similar values to a clinical measurement and may prove beneficial for the study and treatment of children with glaucoma.