Direction-Finding Compass for Blind and Low Vision

February 22, 2011

It is not everyday you come across an outdoor/wilderness gadget for the handicapped by way of blindness and low vison. This is the #16B Braille compass made by Brunton for the blind and low vison folk to tell what direction they are headed and to tell what direction they may want to be going.

Yes, it is LOW tech, no batteries or solar panels to recharge. Sometimes the easiest methods are  the best methods. This can also be used at night if you find your self lost away from camp in the dark or caught by an earlier sunset than you thought would be upon you.

The metal dial is affected by steel/magnetic objects just like any compass dial would be. This thing is built like a tank. I have stepped on it, threw it in a paved parking lot and even had a Chevy Malibu drive over it. ZERO damage (minor scratches on the case).


AMD associated with Bleeding Stroke

February 10, 2011

Older people with late-stage, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) appear to be at increased risk of brain hemorrhage (bleeding stroke), but not stroke caused by brain infarction (blood clot), according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2011.

Late AMD (stage 4) was associated with a 56 percent increased risk of any type of stroke. Late AMD, both the dry and the wet form, was strongly associated with more than six times the risk of brain hemorrhage, but not with brain infarction. Early AMD (stages 1-3) did not increase the risk of any stroke. Associations were adjusted for possible confounders, such as diabetes, blood pressure, anti-hypertensive medications, smoking status, body mass index, alcohol use and C-reactive protein levels.

Because the number of brain hemorrhages observed in the study was small, the findings will need to be corroborated in a larger group, Renske Wieberdink, MD, said.
“These findings should be considered preliminary,” she said. “Patients and physicians must be very careful not to over-interpret them. We don’t know why there are more brain hemorrhages in these patients or what the relationship with AMD might be. This does not mean that all patients with late-stage AMD will develop brain hemorrhage.”

Potential Treatment for Geographic Atrophy

February 7, 2011

A team of researchers, led by University of Kentucky ophthalmologist Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, has discovered a molecular mechanism implicated in geographic atrophy, the major cause of untreatable blindness in the industrialized world.

Ambati’s team discovered that an accumulation of a toxic type of RNA, called Alu RNA, causes retinal cells to die in patients with geographic atrophy. In a healthy eye, a “Dicer” enzyme degrades the Alu RNA particles.

“We discovered that in patients with geographic atrophy, there is a dramatic reduction of the Dicer enzyme in the retina,” said Ambati. “When the levels of Dicer decline, the control system is short-circuited and too much Alu RNA accumulates. This leads to death of the retina.”

Ambati’s team developed two potential therapies aimed at preventing geographic atrophy and demonstrated the efficacy of both approaches using laboratory models. The first involves increasing Dicer levels in the retina by “over-expressing” the enzyme. The second involves blocking Alu RNA using an “anti-sense” drug that binds and degrades this toxic substance. UK has filed patent applications for both technologies, and Ambati’s group is preparing to start clinical trials by the end of this year.

Response from the scientific community has been enthusiastic.

The Clear Reader Plus

February 6, 2011

This post is from Lauren Tappan:

young woman using her optelec clearreader to read a page out of a magazine

I have been searching for an appropriate reading machine, and have looked into the Victor Reader, SARA and then I  was planning on purchasing the Eye Pal until I saw the Clear Reader. I was going to purchase the Clear Reader, until I heard about the Clear Reader Plus. I will have a demonstration of the Clear Reader Plus sometime in March, and will let you know what I think about the latest version. It looks like a small boombox, and is portable. Im hoping the Clear Reader Plus will be able to hook up to a monitor. More to come on this.