Adverse Stem Cell Effect

January 22, 2018

A patient taking part in a clinical trial of an induced pluripotent stem cell treatment for age-related macular degeneration has experienced an adverse effect, the Japan Times reports.

The patient, who is in his 70s, received a transplant of retinal cells derived from donor iPS cells to treat his age-related macular degeneration, the paper adds. The Japan News notes that the clinical trial, consisting of five patients, began in March.

After treatment, the patient’s retina became swollen, leading him to have surgery earlier this week in the hopes of relieving the swelling, as steroids and anti-vascular endothelial growth factors didn’t diminish his symptoms, the Japan Times says. The team removed his pre-retinal membrane and his symptoms improved, it adds

Masayo Takahashi, the Riken researcher who heads the team conducting the trial, said at a news conference earlier this week that “[w]e cannot deny the causal correlation with iPS cells.”

Takahashi first tested this technique in 2014 when an 80-year-old Japanese woman received retinal pigment epithelium cells that were developed from reprogrammed skin cells. The Japan Times says the new patient is the first to experience an adverse reaction to the treatment.

But University College London’s Mike Cheetham tells New Scientist that the swelling was probably due to the original surgery, not the iPS cells.

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Diet Changes to Avoid Macular Degeneration

January 22, 2018

Certain diets in large population studies may have some effect in slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Some studies suggest that eating green, leafy vegetables and other vegetables may slow the progression of AMD, while people who do not typically eat any such vegetables may experience faster progression of AMD. Some potentially beneficial vegetables include kale, spinach, turnips, collard greens and romaine lettuce. Other vegetables that may slow the progression of AMD include broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts.

— Dr. Francis DeCroos, Southeastern Retina Associates; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society


Avoiding Macular Degeneration

January 21, 2018

Macular degeneration is a common eye condition that typically manifests in people over age 50. It damages the macula of the eye, which is located near the center of the retina, and can lead to vision loss. The macula is the part of the eye that helps you see objects that are right in front of you. When this area is damaged, you may see spots or your vision may get blurry or dark. These changes might make it more difficult for you to drive or perform other everyday activities.

Macular degeneration can run in families, so if you have relatives with the condition, you may be at higher risk of developing it yourself. However, the good news is that modifiable risk factors also play an important role when it comes to developing macular degeneration. According to the National Eye Institute, you can reduce your risk by quitting smoking. Smoking cigarettes can double your risk of the condition. Also, try to maintain a healthy blood pressure, act to lower high cholesterol, and eat a healthy diet, one high in nutrients from green leafy vegetables and fish.

Not only are these recommendations beneficial when it comes to preventing macular degeneration, they are good, healthy practices for any individual. There is also evidence that certain nutritional supplements may slow the progression of macular degeneration in some instances. Discuss preventive strategies and early detection with your doctor if macular degeneration runs in your family. And getting a regular eye exam is a good idea, even for people without a family history of the condition.

For more info:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/can-i-avoid-macular-degeneration


Lions Club

January 20, 2018

The lions club in Durham has an ongoing support group for the blind. It is called “Vision Insight”. They meet the first Friday of every month at the Lions meeting-place 1850 Hillandale Rd in Durham. If interested contact Jim Turner at 919-872-3538.

Lauren Tappan


Low Vision Blog

January 20, 2018

I recommend looking up a low-vision/blind blog entitled “Outlook From Here.” This is a low-vision/blind blog and meet-up group located in Wisconsin.

They have an ongoing phone/computer/text meet-up that seems to be very helpful for some.

I recommend checking out this blog.

Lauren Tappan


Magazine about Disabilities

January 20, 2018

Magnets & Ladders

Active Voices of Writers with Disabilities

For more info:   http://www.magnetsandladders.org/

Lauren Tappan


A drug to treat retinal diseases with drops instead of injections

December 17, 2017

The Spanish firm Sylentis has developed a compound to treat diseases of the retina, such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, which will be administered by ophthalmic drops instead of intraocular injections. The drug, which has been tested in animals, is a small interfering RNA capable of penetrating the cells of the retina and blocking the formation of new blood vessels.

A new compound, developed by the biotechnology company Sylentis, is able to penetrate the retina to treat age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, simply with the administration of ophthalmic drops.

This compound is a small interfering RNA (siRNA) designed to silence the expression of NRARP, a protein that controls the formation of new blood vessels in the retina. The compounds currently used to treat these diseases are based on large antibodies that cannot penetrate from the ocular surface to the retina, so they must be administered by intravitreal injections.

For more info:

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/f-sf-adt121217.php

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-12-drug-retinal-diseases.html