Eye Health / Blindness News

Age-Related Blindness May Be Warded Off By Grapes

Can eating grapes slow or help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a debilitating condition affecting millions of elderly people worldwide? Results from a new study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine suggest this might be the case. The antioxidant actions of grapes are believed to be responsible for these protective effects.

The study compared the impact of an antioxidant-rich diet on vision using mice prone to developing retinal damage in old age in much the same way as humans do. Mice either received a grape-enriched diet, a diet with added lutein, or a normal diet.

New Research Helps Explain How The Brain Decides What Is A Face And What Just Resembles One

Objects that resemble faces are everywhere. Whether it's New Hampshire's erstwhile granite "Old Man of the Mountain," or Jesus' face on a tortilla, our brains are adept at locating images that look like faces. However, the normal human brain is almost never fooled into thinking such objects actually are human faces.

"You can tell that it has some 'faceness' to it, but on the other hand, you're not misled into believing that it is a genuine face," says Pawan Sinha, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT.

Flexible Adult Stem Cells, Right There In Your Eye

In the future, patients in need of perfectly matched neural stem cells may not need to look any further than their own eyes. Researchers reporting in the January issue of Cell Stem Cell, a Cell Press publication, have identified adult stem cells of the central nervous system in a single layer of cells at the back of the eye.

That cell layer, known as the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), underlies and supports photoreceptors in the light-sensitive retina. Without it, photoreceptors and vision are lost. The new study shows that the RPE also harbors self-renewing stem cells that can wake up to produce actively growing cultures when placed under the right conditions. They can also be coaxed into forming other cell types.


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