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Stem Cells Curing Burn-Induced Blindness 54

mcgrew writes "The AP (via Yahoo) is reporting that Italian researchers can now cure blindness caused by chemical burns using the patient's own stem cells. 'The treatment worked completely in 82 of 107 eyes and partially in 14 others, with benefits lasting up to a decade so far. One man whose eyes were severely damaged more than 60 years ago now has near-normal vision.' Previously, this kind of injury needed either a corneal transplant or stem cells from someone else, both of which are plagued by problems with tissue rejection. Unfortunately, this only works for damaged corneas — so far."
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Stem Cells Curing Burn-Induced Blindness

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  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Friday June 25, 2010 @04:54PM (#32696236) Homepage Journal

    The brain is probably the most incredible organ in the body, and yes, like your muscles if you don't use it it will atrophe, but it is amazingly resiliant so long as there's no actual damage to it.

    After ten years of my eyes' focusing muscles not being used (in your forties the lens hardens and you need reading glasses) it only took a few months after getting my implant for the focusing muscles to work again. And the brain is the same way; you would have to learn to see again, but you would learn.

  • by Garble Snarky ( 715674 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @07:34PM (#32698228) []

    This article is long but fascinating - long story short, guy loses his vision as a young child (possibly the key point), regains it 45 years later, struggles very much to deal with sight for several years, but misses his past, sight-less life. He has a very hard time correlating objects' feel with their appearance, he has a hard time appreciating perspective, he can only navigate around his own house by using key landmarks and following preset paths, etc. Eventually he mostly gives up on being able to perceive the world visually. His state of mind plays a huge role in the situation, and visiting his childhood home helps significantly.

    Maybe this is just anecdotal and I'm certainly no expert. But before reading this, my thoughts would have been exactly what you wrote, and that is not entirely accurate.

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