Sep 24, 2009 | 2
BALTIMORE—Deep in the brain, buried in the hippocampus and subventricular zone, reside adult neural stem cells, cells that retain the ability to become other types of neural cells and could serve as possible treatments for ailments ranging from vision impairment to Parkinson's to spinal cord injuries. Doctors, scientists and patients, however, are understandably hesitant to go digging around for them, their location being "a great deterrent," Sally Temple, founder of the New York Neural Stem Cell Institute, said at the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit here on Wednesday.
Researchers, therefore, are anxious to uncover other, more accessible neural stem cell candidates. Temple and her team have turned their sights to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a layer of tissue at the base of the retina that comes into being within 30 to 50 days of conception, before many other parts of the neural system differentiate. Cells from this area of the eye can be easily harvested from retinal fluid that is usually discarded during retinal surgery, she explained.
Mar 29, 2009 | 3
People who have difficulty seeing traffic lights or cars at night, facial gestures, or when a flame is burning on a stove often suffer from poor contrast sensitivity, a condition thought to be correctable, if at all, only by eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. Researchers now say they may have found a way to improve contrast sensitivity naturally with the help of an unlikely source—video games.
In a study published today online in the journal Nature Neuroscience a team of researchers led by University of Rochester in New York State professor of brain and cognitive sciences Daphne Bavelier describe a specific video game training regimen that could improve contrast sensitivity, helping those afflicted with the problem notice even very small changes in shades of grey against a uniform background. Poor contrast sensitivity affects thousands of people worldwide, including the elderly and those suffering from amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye," Bavelier says.
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