Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Digital Pen is Better Dementia-Prediction Tool than a Doctor


Digital Pen Technology – Dementia Prediction Tool

A digital pen technology, which is a new dementia prediction tool, can diagnose conditions earlier and with great accuracy. The invention is based on a method of screening for cognitive damage, known as clock-drawing test. Individuals are made to draw a clock which shows the time as 11.10 and then copy a pre-drawn clock showing the same time.

The test reveals how they perform when it comes to verbal and understanding, memory as well as spatial knowledge, which is used to ascertain conditions like Parkinson and Alzheimer. The team behind the study of the latest digital pen, desire to find a way to automate the test, to speed up the diagnoses but also to remove doctor subjectivity and possibly help with earlier diagnoses by utilising more detailed data indicators.

With the use of the Anoto Live Pen, that measures a ballpoint position of a tip, 80 times a second with an inbuilt camera, the team from MITs Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Lahey Hospital together with many other universities all over the US, were capable of collecting data from around 2,600 tests which had been performed over nine years.

The Digital Clock Drawing Test - dCDT

The data was used by the team to build specialised software to create the digital Clock Drawing Test – dCDT. They observed that it was far more accurate in delivering a diagnosis than the equivalent original,which depends on a doctor’s subjective interpretation of the drawings.

Some of it could be due to the fact that the dCDT takes in more than the finished drawings and provides other indicators which tend to depend on the process of drawing the clock. In this case the team noticed that those with memory impairments took more time thinking on the drawing prior to drawing than those without the disorder.

Those affected with Parkinson also took longer to draw clocks which were usually on the smaller side. According toMIT’s Cynthia Rudin, who commented on MIT News, states that `they have improved the analysis in order that it is automated and objective and with the right equipment, they can get results wherever needed, quickly and with higher accuracy’.

Save Manual Hours Spent in Diagnosing

They are expecting that the test will save on the manual hours spent in diagnosing or possibly misdiagnosing, a disorder which is of vital importance, taking into consideration the duration of time it can take in diagnosing neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s with anumber of various tests and processes.

Since the procedures utilised in the dCDT tends to be trained on more data, the team is also hoping that it will be able to pick up on new indicators they are discovering faster like the case of hesitation and the drawing technique enabling an even earlier diagnoses, established on thousands of test results that have been carried over the years.

The team writes that `while the models will need additional testing for validation, they offer the opportunity of considerable improvement in detecting intellectual impairment earlier than presently possible, a development with considerable possible impact in practice.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

PEAK1 Acts as a Molecular Switch to Regulate Context-Dependent TGFβ Responses in Breast Cancer


Most Common Cancer – Breast Cancer with 24% Survival Rate

Around 23% of all cancer cases are of breast cancer which is the most common cancer among woman and those with metastatic type of this condition tend to have 24% survival rate. Comprehending the molecular regulation of the metastatic flow as well as the development of metastatic tumours could enlighten the strategies in helping in the chances of survival of the patient.

In the framework of human cancers, transforming growth factor beta – TGFB, could act as a tumour suppressor or a pro-tumorigenic factor which would be capable of inducing epithelial to mesenchymal transition – EMTas well as metastasis. EMT is a morphologic and phenotypic change in the cells which tends to get associated with precise deviationsin gene expression. It is necessary and severely regulated during embryogenesis as well as tissue homeostasis.

However, it is decontrolled during the development of epithelial cancers to promote metastasis. At the time of EMT, the cells slowly tend to lose their apical basal polarity, the potential to attach to the basement membrane and protein complexes which tend to control cell-cell junctions. These changes are also related with down-regulation of epithelial genes with greater than before expression of mesenchymal genes. The outcome of which is that cells tend to migrate more extensively and accept a more spread fibroblast like morphology.

TGFB Signalling Mechanisms to be Changed

TGFB exposure, as a tumour suppressor, promotes cytostasis, apoposis and differentiation and acts to stimulate an appropriate immune response. But the TGFB’s signalling mechanisms could be changed to impede its anti-proliferative effects and stimulate tumorigenic effects. Environmental signals and cell type are factors which can determine if TGFB acts in tumour suppressive or tumour promoting and it is learnt how the signalling pathways tend to become modified; a thorough understanding of the molecular regulation which tends to drive this change in TGFB responses is yet to be fully interpreted.

With regards to TGFB and ECM growth element pathways have been portrayed to cooperate in promoting EMT, migration, invasion as well as metastasis of breast cancer cells.Earlier reports had verified that specific extracellular matrix proteins could cooperate with TGFB receptors to change TGFB sins from its canonical Smad2/3 pathway to non-canonical Src/RBRII/Grb2/MAPK indicating pathways. This change has been described to be a key mechanism from which TGFB accepts its pro-tumorigenic tasks

PEAK1 Expression in Breast Cancer Samples Analysed

In the present study, pseudopodium enriched atypical kinase 1 - PEAK1 expression in human breast cancer samples were analysed and it was found that PEAK1 levels associate with mesenchymal gene expression, disease relapse and poor cellular differentiation. It was observed at the cellular level that PEAK1 expression was the highest in mesenchymal breast cancer cells, linked with migration capabilities and increased in response to TGFB induced epithelial mesenchymal transition.

Hence, the need to evaluate the role of PEAK1 in the changing of TGFB from a tumour supressing to tumour promoting factor came up. It was discovered that high PEAK1 expression resulted in TGFB losing its anti-proliferative effects potentiates TGFB induced proliferation, EMT, cell migration and tumour metastasis in fibronectin-dependent manner. PEAK1 also resulted in changing of TGFB signs from its canonical Smad2/3 pathway to non-canonical Src and MAPK signs.

This is the first report in providing evidence that PEAK1 arbitrates signalling cross talk between TGFB receptors and integrin/Src/MAPK pathways. PEAK1 is also an important molecular regulator of TGFB induced tumour progression as well as metastasis in breast cancer.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Ebola Vaccine Proves 100 Percent Effective in Trial


Development in Ebola Vaccine - 100% Effective

Development in Ebola vaccine has proved to be 100% effective in a trial which took place in Guinea and been named a `game changer’ by the World Health Organisation – WHO. Initially the results of the trial of the VSC-EBOV vaccine, created by the Public Health Agency of Canada and which had been developed by pharmaceutical company – Merck, were published in `The Lancet’.

 Director General of – WHO, Margaret Chan, had stated that ` this was an extremely promising development and the credit goes to the Guinean Government, the people living in the communities and our partners in this project. An effective vaccine will be another very important tool for both current and future Ebola outbreaks’.

The results so far has revealed that the said vaccine is effective 100 percent, however the trial is set to continue to attempt and establish conclusive evidence which could be utilised to protect the whole population through `herd immunity’.The trial had begun on March 23, 2015 with more than 4,000 close contacts of about 100 patients suffering from Ebola who had volunteered to get vaccinated.

Immediate Deployment of Vaccination – Helpful

The trial had been implemented with the use of the same `ring; method which had been used in eliminating smallpox and had been issued to each person who had come in contact with the infected person. It thus created a protective ring around them that prevented the virus from spreading around.

During the trial, around 50% of the rings were vaccinated instantly on identification of an infected person and 50% of the rings were vaccinated three weeks thereafter. This was done to enable the researchers to compare the results. In the group which had been vaccinated instantly, there was not a single one who went on to develop Ebola while those who had received the delayed vaccination, had only 16 who went on to develop Ebola.

 Immediate vaccination being proven to be completely effective, randomization has now ended. All individuals who were at risk of being affected of Ebola have been vaccinated immediately, since July 26. Besides immediate deployment of the vaccine in helping to terminate the epidemic, it will also minimise the time needed in collecting more conclusive evidence which will ultimately be essential to license the product.

Proven Effect of VSV-EBOV

One of the many organisations which have been implementing the trial, Medicins san Frontieres, has also been vaccinating all of its frontline workers. The medical director of the company, Bertrand Draguez has stated that with high efficacy, all the affected countries should immediately start and multiply ring vaccinations to break chains of transmission and vaccinate all frontline workers in order to protect them.

Around 28,000 people had been infected since the outbreak of Ebola epidemic in West Africa, in December 2013 where around 11,300 people had died of the ailment. Though the outbreak continues in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the proven effectiveness of the VSV-EBOV vaccine has now provided hope that the spread of the dreadful disease would be arrested.

Guinea’s national coordinator for the Ebola had replied that this is Guinea’s gift to West Africa and the world. The thousands of volunteers from Conakry and other areas of Lower Guinea as well as the many Guinean doctors, data managers and community mobilisers have made their contribution in finding a line of defence against a terrible disease – EBOLA

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Aarskog Syndrome


Aarskog Syndrome – An Inherited Disease

Aarskog syndrome an inherited disease affects the person’s height, skeleton, muscles, genitals and the appearance of the face. It is a rare genetic disorder which is linked to the X chromosome and affects mainly males, though females tend to have a milder form.

The condition is due to the changes in a gene known as faciogenital dysplasia or FGD1. It is linked to the X chromosome which is passed down from parents to their children. The symptoms tend to become obvious by the age of 3. Two factors could increase the likelihood of getting Aarskog syndrome, namely gender and genetic makeup.

 If the child is a male, he would be more likely to develop this disorder since he has only one X chromosome. If a mother is a carrier of the defective gene for Aarskog syndrome, there is an increased risk of the child developing this disease.

Aarskog syndrome tends to affect four main areas of a child’s anatomy, such as the facial features, muscle and bone structure, genitalia and the brain. If a child suffering from this disorder may have typical facial features which could include – a widow’s peak hairline, unusually broad or small nose, forward slanting nostrils, round face, wide set eye, wide indention above the upper lips, sagging eyelids, ears which fold down at the top and delayed growth of teeth

Signs & Symptoms

With regards to muscle and bone structure, the disorder could be mildly to moderately malformed and the signs could include, an indented chest, short stature, webbed toes and finger, short toes and finger, one crease in the palms of the hand and curled pinky fingers.

In genital malformations, a typical genital formation and development seems to be a common sign of this disorder which may include a lump in the scrotum or groin which is also known as a hernia. Aarskog syndrome could also cause mild to moderate mental deficits which may include – slow cognitive performance, delayed cognitive development and attention deficit disorder.

Additional signs may occur less often which may include heart defect, abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine, additional pairs of ribs. Additional eye abnormalities could be present like crossed eye, farsightedness and paralysis of certain eye muscles.

Treatment Limited to Correcting Abnormalities

There is no cure unfortunately for Aarskog syndromeand treatment is limited to correcting the abnormalities in the child’s bones, teeth and tissue. Treatment may probably include surgical procedures like, orthodontic and dental surgery to set right skewed teeth and abnormal bone structure, hernia repair surgery to take out a scrotum or groin lump.

Other treatment may include supportive assistance for development and cognitive delays. Should the child be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, the assistance of a psychiatric may be needed to solve the issue. A counsellor or a behavioural specialist could guide the parenting skills and the strategies in supporting the child’s need.

Unfortunately, there is no known way of preventing Aarskog syndrome but a women could undergo genetic testing in determining whether she is a carrier of mutate FGDI gene. If genetic testing indicates that she is a carrier of this mutate gene, she could weigh the risk of choosing whether to have children or not.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

How the Brain Purges Bad Memories


Researchers Identified Neuronal Circuit – To Purge Bad Memories

Researchers have now identified a neuronal circuit – a brain circuit which is responsible in the brain’s ability to purge bad memories. The brain is proficient in knowing when startling or threatening stimulus tends to turn out to be resolved or harmless. However at times, this method fails resulting in unpleasant association arising, a malfunction presumed to be at the root of post-traumatic stress disorder –PTSD and the researchers finding could have effects in treating PTSD as well as other anxiety disorders.

The brain is extremely good in alerting us to dangers such as noxious smells, loud sound, approaching raiders and send electrical impulses down the sensory neurons to our brain’s fear circuitry and to some extent giving rise to either fight or flee from the situation. Similar to most of the emotions, fear is said to be neurologically complicated though earlier work has been constantly connected with two specific areas of the brain in contributing and regulating fear responses.

The two small arcs of brain tissue deep below our temple, the amygdala, is responsible in emotional reaction and tends to flare with activity whenever one experiences fear. If a certain threat tends to become harmless, the region in the brain behind the forehead known as the prefrontal cortex takes over and the fright diminishes. The potential to extinguish painful recollections is said to involve some kind of synchronized effort between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.

Working between Two Brain Region – To Eliminate Fear

Andrew Holmes, latest study at the National Institutes of Health, approves that a connection of working between the two brain regions is essential to eliminate fear. For instance, mice usually listening to repeated sound which has been connected with mild foot shock, will learn that on its own the tone is harmless and they tend to stop being afraid.

With the use of optogenetic stimulation technology, or adjusting certain neurons and animal behaviour using light, authors observed that unsettling the amygdala, - prefrontal cortex connection, prevented the mice from disabling the negative connection with the benign tone and in neurobiology speak, memory `extinction’ fails to take place. Besides this, they also observed that stimulating the circuit resulted in the increased extinction of memories of fear.

Till now the investigator was not sure if the amygdala – prefrontal cortex communication pathway could control fear extinction on its own. Both the structures tend to interact with several other brain regions and in isolating their effects on behaviour would be challenging. The discovery was possible due to optogenetics enabling the NIH group to accurately evaluatein real time, only the connection between the two brain regions, providing an accurate connection between neuronal activity and behaviour.

Two Main Hubs – Amygdala & Prefrontal Cortex

Holmes envisages the amygdala and prefrontal cortex as two main hubs in an intricate communication network. In the case of impaired fear extinction such as PSTD, it is just a single connection between the two regions which is damaged and not the hubs.

Holmes explains that `to regulate fear extinction it would be better to isolate and fix that particular line of communication opposed to trying to re-engineer the hubs themselves and it is their job to carry several lines of communication for all types of brain functions most of which are perhaps working fine’. Considering the similarities in case of fear circuitry between humans and rodent, the new study could enlighten the research into new satisfying approaches to anxiety disorders inclusive of mediation which tend to act on the fear circuit.

He believes that healthy fear extinction depends on neural plasticity, which is the brain’s capabilities of making new neuronal connection, which is in part inclined by the brain’s own cannabinoids compounds which tend to regulate neurotransmitters.Drugs which tend to alter the cannabinoid system provide a way in modifying the fear circuit and probably improve anxiety.

NRCME Certification Training

The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) has established strict requirements pertaining to the performance of physical examinations for bus and truck drivers by properly licensed healthcare professionals, which includes MDs, DCs, DOs, NPs/APNs, and PAs.

It became effective on May 21, 2014 that only healthcare professionals who have completed the training and passed NRCME's mandatory certification test are permitted to issue medical certificates to commercial motor vehicle drivers.

This education covers the qualification standards and guidelines of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A medical advisory board and a well-experienced course development team work together closely and produce the user-friendly NRCME Certification Training Course for adult e-learning and compliance training that meets or exceeds the FMCSA’s requirements as well as complying with the needs to be an accredited DOT Certification Training Course.

This training is accomplished 100 percent online, which makes it convenient to the students’ work and study schedules. The completion time for the average course is 12 hours. After successful completion of the training program, you immediately print your Certificate of Completion and register for the FMCSA medical examiner certification test to be accredited by a nationally-recognized medical profession organization, and you will also receive up to 18 AMA/PRA ACCME Category 1 CME’s.

Students learn to:
  • Perform driver certification examinations in accordance with medical guidelines and FMCSA’s physical qualification requirements.
  • Document the medical history and physical examination findings, which will aid in certifying a driver.
  • Describe the physical and mental requirements for qualification for commercial drivers by using the 13 standards and Medical Expert Panel Guidance materials.
The National Academy of DOT Medical Examiners (NADME) is the leader in the Certification Medical Examiner Training and would be happy to guide you in deciding if you will further your career by taking their course and aid in improved highway safety, which has been their vision.

NADME enhances the knowledge and skills of medical examiners in the DOT NRCME regulations and requirements and is very proud of the fact that their students have a 99.9 percent pass rate on the national certification exam.

Join thousands of healthcare providers who have completed the DOT NRCME Certification with NADME.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

3D Brain Map Reveals Connections between Cells in Nano-Scale


Research – Abnormal Connection in Neurological Disorder

Researchers are expecting that exceptional images would enable the study of abnormal connection in neurological disorder like schizophrenia and depression and have created unprecedented high resolution map of the brain which indicates structures as tiny as those found in single nerve cells. They tend to develop the 3D map from a collection of images which are taken with nanoscale resolution with capability of picking out features measured in millionth of a millimetre.

 They intend using the tool in studying the abnormal connection between brain cells which underlie weakening neurological disorders in the case of depression and schizophrenia. A neurobiologist at Harvard University, Narayanan Kasthuri, who led the team behind the map, has said that `they were talking about imaging close to the level of a molecule’.

He along with his colleague Jeff Lichtman’s team had constructed a system which automatically parts a subject brain into thousands of thin sections and after staining the parts to pick out various tissues, an electron microscope had been trained to take images of each part. A computer then allots various colours to individual structures, knitting the images together in order to produce a 3D map.

One Pixel on MRI Equal to Billion Pixels in Images

The power of the system was portrayed by the researchers by imaging the area of brain of a mouse which was responsible for sensory perception and its result had been published in the journal Cell. Traditional brain imaging techniques like the MRI tend to be straightforwardto be used though it can only resolve features to about a millimetre. `BigBrain’, a German anatomical atlas, tends to resolve features of the human brain down to micrometres, much thinner than a human hair as well as nearly on a scale of individual cells.

Kasthuri’s tool by contrast developed nanoscale pictures of individual brain cells, together with their contents and their connections. He had stated that `one pixel on an MRI is equal to about a billion pixels in images’. In order to map the brain in such details usually involves an adjustment and thin parts of tissue could be imaged in high resolution, though in thicker sections or parts, the resolution tends to fall. Kasthuri resolved the problem by automating the process. The thin sections were imaged by the microscope and then stacked together.

Working on Machine Vision – Tracking Individual Neurons

The machines would be utilised in taking pictures of the brain after death and the team are expecting that by tracking neural trails they would be in a position to answer queries with regard to what a neurological disorder looks in the brain.

Kasthuri has commented that `if they could make a map of a brain with schizophrenia and compare it to one without schizophrenia, they could look for inappropriate connections that could contribute to the disorder. Maria Ron, emeritus professor of neuropsychiatry at University College London, however states that it would be difficult to use the system on large groups of patients and controls, to reveal much about the brain diseases. The efforts involved would also take great computing power.

Image of a mouse brain that is taken with the machine could develop billions of gigabytes of data and according to Kasthuri, is equivalent to billions of high definition movies that would create the largest dataset that has been collected. The team is said to be working on machine vision that utilises computers in tracking individual neurons through the brain to examine their connections. Kasthuri states that once they have the same in place, they can have probable showstopper.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Health - South Korea declares 'end' to Mers


Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – MERS – South Korea

Since May this year, after 36 deaths and 186 infections that followed the first diagnosis, South Korea’s Prime Minister declared the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – MERS, a `de facto end’. Mr Hwang stated that there were no new infections for the last 23 days and the people could `now be free from worry’.

 According to Yonhap news agency it was reported that he had also apologised for the government’s criticised response to the virus that had killed some of the people in South Korea. However, World Health Organization stated that it was not declared that Mers was officially over.According to a spokeswoman in Manila it was informed that the World Health Organisation needed 28 days without any new infection in order to make the announcement, which is twice the incubation period of the virus and the last case had been confirmed on 4th July in South Korea.

As per AFP news agency report, Health Ministry official of South Korea, Kwon Duk-cheol had said that precautions, inclusive of screening at airports would have to remain in place, `till the situations comes to a formal end. With several arrivals coming from the Middle East, there could be a possibility of new patients coming in’.

Causes of MERS

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Mers is caused –
  • Due to corona virus, a kind of virus that includes common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome – Sars
  • First case came from the Middle East in 2012 while the first death in Saudi Arabia was in June the same year
  • It is believed to have originated from camels, but the transmission to humans is not clear
  • The virus does not tend to pass easily from humans, though infections usually takes place in people who could have close contact with infected person
  • Patients who may have fever, cough and breathing problems. Mers could also cause pneumonia as well as kidney failure
  • Around 36% of reported patients with Mers have died and there is no vaccine or a specific treatment.

Condition First Identified in 2012

Mr Hwang while in talks in Seoul had said that `after weighing several circumstances, the medical personnel and the government, judge that the people can now be free from worry’. According to the Yonhap news agency report, he had asked the people to shake off the concern over Mers and continue with the normal daily routine, including economic, cultural, leisure and school activities.

Mers had appeared in South Korea that was brought by a man who had visited the Middle East, on 26 May, where the condition was first identified in 2012. The only outbreak outside Middle East - South Korea, had confirmed 186 infections with 36 deaths. The outbreak as well as the subsequent quarantine together with the restrictions on the daily life had a very tragic effect on the economy wherein tourism was reduced to 40% in foreign visitors.

The government was accused for being slow in reacting to the crisis wherein most of the infections took place at health centres that were not sufficiently prepared for an infectious disease. Recently the government had approved an 11.5tn won package in order to support the struggling economy.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

World First Bionic Eye Implant


First Bionic Eye Implant – Common Cause of Loss of Sight

The first bionic eye implant in a patient with the most common cause of loss of sight in the developed age, has been conducted by surgeons in Manchester. The bionic eye implant known as the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System – Argus II, was fitted as a part of a continuing research in order to access its efficacy in patients having dry age related macular degeneration – AMD which is condition accounting for 80-90% of all cases of AMD.

The main cause of vision loss among seniors is AMD which tends to affect over 14% of the individuals of 80 years and above in the US. This condition could cause damage to the macula which is a part of the eye’s retina, essential for central vision, enabling us to see images directly in front of us. In the case of dry AMD, damage is caused to the macula by small white or yellowish deposits known as drusen that forms under the macula resulting in it to deteriorate over a period of time.

As the condition tends to progress, patients experience blurriness in their central vision. However AMD does not result in complete blindness but it could interfere with daily activities like reading, driving, writing, cooking and much more which could affect the ability to recognize faces. Unlike wet AMD, there is presently no treatment option made available for dry AMD.

Argus II Implant

The first patient, Ray Flynn, 80 years had dry age related macular degeneration that had led to the total loss of his central vision. He has been using retinal implant which tends to convert video images from a minute video camera that is worn on the glasses and can now observe the direction of white lines on a computer screen with the use of the retinal implant. Mr Flynn was delighted with the implant and hoping that in time it would improve his sight adequately in helping him with his daily activities such as gardening as well as shopping.

Manufactured by the US firm, Second Sight, the Argus II implant had earlier been used in restoring some vision to patients who were blind due to a rare condition known as retinitis pigmentosa. The surgery at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital was the first time it had been implanted in a patient having age related macular degeneration, that had affected at least half a million people to some extent in the UK.

The operation had taken four hours, led by Paula Stanga, consultant ophthalmologist as well as vitreo-retinal surgeon at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and the professor of ophthalmology together with retinal regeneration at the University of Manchester.

Beginning of a New Era for Loss of Sight

He had informed that Mr Flynn’s progress was remarkable and he could effectively see the outline of people as well as objects and that this could be the beginning of a new era for patient with loss of sight. The bionic eye implant obtains its visual information from a small camera that is mounted on glasses worn by the person.

The images tend to get converted into electrical pulses which are transmitted to an array of electrodes attached to the retina, wirelessly. The electrodes in turn stimulate the retina’s remaining cells that send information to the brain.

Two weeks after the surgery, Mr Flynn, in a test was able to detect the pattern of horizontal, vertical as well as diagonal lines on a computer screen due to the implant. During the test, he had his eyes closed so that the medical team could ensure that the visual information was coming from the camera on his glasses and the implant.

Mr Flynn had informed that it was amazing to be able to see the bars on the screen with his eyes closed. The implant does not provide any highly detailed vision though previous research have indicated that it can help patients in detecting discrete patterns like door frames as well as shapes. Prof Stanga at that time had stated that Mr Flynn could learn in interpreting the images from the implant in a more efficient manner.

Two Types of Age Related Macular Degeneration – Dry/Wet

There are two types of age related macular degeneration namely dry and wet. The dry type could affect around 85% of AMD patents resulting in gradual loss of central vision though it does not tend to affect peripheral vision.

Macular Society has estimated that about 44,000 people tend to develop dry AMD, a year in the UK. As a part of a clinical trial, it is said that four more patients having dry AMD will be receiving the implant at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. Prof Stanga hopes that these patients would develop some central visual function that they could work alongside and complement their peripheral vision.

He has further commented that they `are excited with this trial and hoping that this technology could help people including children having other forms of sight loss’. The cost of Argus II would be around £150,000 inclusive of treatment cost, though all the patients on the trial would be treated free of cost.

The trial is being done in the Manchester Clinical Research Facility which has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research and Wellcome Trust, with the intention of bringing about new drugs as well as medical devices to the patients.

Totally Ground-Breaking Research

The AMD study has been described by Gregoire Cosendai of Second Sight Medical Products as a `totally ground-breaking research. Cathy Yelf of Macular Society has found this as an exciting result and intends following the progress of these trial with much interest.

According to him, macular degeneration could be a devastating condition where several people tend to get affected as they live longer. These are early trails though in time it could lead to useful device for people who tend to lose their central vision.

In Europe and the US, the Argus II has already been approved in the treatment of patients having retinitis pigmentosa – RP, a condition that is characterized by degeneration of the retina affecting several people. Prof Stanga is now hoping that the Argus II could help patients with dry AMD and states that first results of the trail are a complete success and that they are looking forward in treating more dry AMD patients.