STATES CHRONICLE – Scientific experimentation at Stanford University has managed to partially restore vision in blind mice for the first time. Researchers believe that this is the first step in restoring multiple key aspects in visual sensors in mammals. The study was published on Monday, July 11th.
Stanford University scientists document the successful coaxing of the optic-nerve cables into regenerating. The optic-nerve cables are the information highway from the eye to the brain. Several rats had fully severed optic-optic nerve cables, making the blind. The experiments were able to force them into regeneration and to reconnect with the appropriate parts of the brain.
A similar but enhanced and refined procedure could be soon be used to restore sight to the blind.
Scientists state that the optical condition of the rats before the experiment was similar to the condition of glaucoma. After cataracts, glaucoma is ranked as the second worldwide cause for blindness. Glaucoma affects over 70 million people across the globe, and there is currently no cure for it.
Curing The Blind
Previous experiments attempted to restore sight using either mTOR-pathway reactivation or visual stimulation. Each process proved to be successful in restoring parts of the optic-nerve cables, but the regeneration process stopped there and could not fully complete the connection between the eye and the brain.
The current set of experiments combined the two procedures and after lengthy experimentation, scientists had concluded that the link offered by the optic-nerve cables had been successfully restored, granting partial sight.
In experiments designed to test the visual prowess of the once blind mice, the Stanford University researchers noted behavioral changes which implied that sight was partially accessible to the rodents.
Any experiment which required a finer sense of sight or the need to observe and use details proved to be unsuccessful, demonstrating that although sight was restored to the mice, there would still be work to do until full vision could be restored.
Researchers believe that an increasing percentage of visual range could be increased in the once blind mice after they figure out how to boost the regenerative process further.
The same procedure can be applied but at a different ratio, which has yet to be developed. The frequent visual stimulation or mTOR-pathway re-activation could lead to damaging the optic-nerve cables, which they spent so much effort on restoring.
Do you believe that treatments which work on mice could actually cure the blind in the future? Let us know.
Photograph Courtesy of Wikipedia.