Alzheimer’s and Macular Degeneration

November 26, 2016

One change that occurs in the retina of people with AMD as the disease progresses is an increase in the number and size of fatty deposits called drusen.

In their study paper, the researchers explain that the causes of AMD are understood to be complex, with both genetic as well as environmental risks factors, and share similarities with Alzheimer’s disease.

They note how recent studies have shed a lot of light on the genetic causes of AMD – although this is not matched by insights into the molecular mechanisms involved.

However, they also note that other studies have found aged and AMD retinas also show accumulation of the types of beta-amyloid proteins that are found in toxic plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, and “for which there appears to be no clear genetic basis.”

For their study, Dr. Arjuna Ratnayaka, a lecturer in vision sciences at Southampton, and colleagues used cell cultures and mouse models of AMD to investigatemechanisms of Alzheimer’s beta-amyloid accumulation inside retinal cells.

They were particularly interested in the speed with which the proteins find their way inside the retinal cells.

The researchers found the retinal cells internalized the amyloid proteins within 24 hours of being exposed to them.

They also discovered that the amyloid proteins are retained inside the retinal cells, where they gradually impair a molecular mechanism reliant on the protein encoded by the MAP-2 gene. Among other things, MAP-2 mechanisms help to maintain important structures inside cells called microtubules.

Dr. Ratnayaka says they were surprised at the speed with which the amyloid proteins entered the cells, and he suggests the finding may help explain how a healthy retina can switch to a diseased, AMD retina.

The team is now planning to evaluate how the beta-amyloid proteins actually enter the retinal cells and set about causing internal damage. The hope is the continuing work will lead to measures to prevent or treat AMD.

For more info:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314302.php

http://www.belmarrahealth.com/age-related-macular-degeneration-linked-alzheimers-disease/

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/734691/protein-macular-degeneration-AMD-alzheimer-s-disease-blindness-eye-retina-amyloid-beta

 

 

 

 

 

 


More Info on the Book Eye 4

November 17, 2016
Here are a few more notes on the Book Eye 4 as a resource for low-vision/blind users.  Johnathon Kirk of UNC has sent us a brief description of his experience with the Book eye.
He highly recommends it as a free book scanner and reader.  see below
Lauren Tappan
bookeye-4

More Info on the Book Eye4 Scanner

November 8, 2016

The following is from Lauren Tappan.

Many University libraries’ now have the Book Eye 4.  Jack Mitchell from Indigo Logics,
Johnathon Kirk from the Duke Eye Center, my husband and I met at the Duke Library with
the goal of using the Book Eye 4, my I-Pad and the KNFB Reader to have scanned files
read to me.
The Book Eye 4 is a great document scanner that will allow you to send scanned documents to a thumb drive or PDF file.  It has large print on the navigational desk top so it would be easy for a low-vision user.
   My goal was to scan a document on the Book Eye 4 and send this
scanned document to my I-Pad e-mail program.
   Unfortunately, my I-Pad Voice Over does not read PDF files so we were trying to
figure out a way to have these scanned documents read.
  Jack Mitchell showed us how we can send the PDF file to my KNFB Reader ap
where the document can be saved and read to me in a timely fashion.
   As a low-vision user of these devices, I was looking for a quick and easy
scanning system that would allow me to scan at least 20 pages at a time.
When I have tried to use the KNFB Reader to scan material sometimes
my hands are not steady enough and I don’t get a clear copy of the page.
  Jack Mitchell showed us a way to arrange the I-Pad on a flat surface,
exposing the camera and then being able to use the I_pad and KNFB
Reader like the Book Eye 4 scanner.
  It sounds complicated but once you know the system things go quickly.
Lauren