Young researcher identifies binocular vision gene
Aucott et al. report the first in vivo experiments on the heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) family, which sidles up to silent DNA. The results, to be published in the Nov. 17 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology, add to the evidence that the different versions of the proteins help cells fix broken DNA. The
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Dr Catherine Leamey from the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Sydney has been awarded the 2008 Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund Prize for Medical Research for her work in identifying the gene that enables binocular vision.
In the absence of this gene the projections from the two eyes which see the same part of visual space are not aligned with each other in the brain. This has devastating functional consequences - animals that lack the gene behave as if blind.
Most remarkably, Dr Leamey has shown that the acute blockade of all activity in one eye of these animals can rescue vision in the other eye. The restoration of vision indicates that the “blindness” results from suppression, which arises as a consequence of the interocular mismatch.
This is the first time pharmacological blockade of a neural pathway has been shown to cause a gain in visual ability. This has important implications for the development of therapies for both visual and developmental brain disorders such as autism and mental retardation.
The award was made at a special function Friday, 28 November, which was jointly hosted by the Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund and the Australia/Israel Chamber of Commerce.
A new study from Georgia Tech shows that when patients with macular degeneration focus on using another part of their retina to compensate for their loss of central vision, their brain seems to compensate by reorganizing its neural connections. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. The study appears in
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Computational neuroscientists at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a computational model that provides insight into the function of the brain’s visual cortex and the information processing that enables people to perceive contours and surfaces, and understand what they see in the world around them. A type of visual neuron known as simple cells can detect
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With 30 million drivers in the U.S. aged 65 and over, we count on older Americans to recognize when they can no longer drive safely and decide that it’s time to stay off the road. A new study finds that a decrease in vision function is a key factor in bringing about this decision. The
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A new study shows that men are more likely to lose vision as a result of a particular cause of intracranial hypertension, or increased pressure in the brain, than women with the condition. The research is published in the October 15, 2008, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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