Macular degeneration


3 JAMES IN OUR HEALTH WATCH REPORT…… AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION AFFECTS ELEVEN MILLION PEOPLE IN THE U-S AND THAT NUMBER IS EXPECTED TO NEARLY DOUBLE BY 2050. NOW, RESEARCHERS ARE LOOKING INTO HOW A UNIQUE CHARACTERISTIC OF A ZEBRAFISH CAN REGENERATE RETINAS IN HUMANS AND KEEP PEOPLE SEEING AS THEY AGE. LOCAL 3’S CHELLY BOUTOTT HAS MORE. 3 MACULAR DEGENERATION IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF VISION LOSS FOR ADULTS OVER THE AGE OF 60. NOW RESEARCHERS ARE USING A TINY FISH TO COMBAT SIGHT STEALING CONDITIONS IN HUMANS. “THESE FISH MIGHT BE TINY, BUT THEY COME WITH SOME SUPERSIZED POWERS. David Calkins, PhD, Director of Vanderbilt, Vision Research Center, “Zebrafish, unlike mammals, are able to regenerate parts of their retina if they become injured.” THAT IS WHY RESEARCHERS FROM VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER ARE STUDYING HOW THIS CHARACTERISTIC OF ZEBRAFISH CAN HELP HUMANS DEALING WITH AGE-RELATED VISION LOSS DUE TO DAMAGE TO THE RETINA. James Patton, PhD, Professor of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, “The cells that make up the retina between the fish and the human eye are very, very similar.” EXCEPT FOR ONE CELL CALLED MG FOR MULLER GLIA (GLEE-ah). IN A ZEBRAFISH WHEN THAT CELL IS DAMAGED, IT WILL ACTIVATE AND THEN REGENERATE. James Patton, PhD, “So, the fish will go from blind to about two-and-a-half weeks later, total regain of eyesight.” HUMANS HAVE THE SAME MULLER GLIA CELL BUT ARE INCAPABLE OF REGENERATION LIKE THE ZEBRAFISH. BUT RESEARCHER JAMES PATTON IS TRYING TO FIND OUT IF SUPPRESSING A CERTAIN TYPE OF MICRO R-N-A IN HUMANS COULD ACTIVATE MULLER GLIA THE SAME WAY IT DOES IN ZEBRAFISH. CURRENTLY, THE ECONOMIC BURDEN FOR EYE DISORDERS AND VISION LOSS SITS AT 139 MILLION DOLLARS. BUT James Patton, PhD, “If there were ways to keep people seeing and overcome degenerative disorders, that would have a huge economic impact, not to mention quality of life.” POSSIBLY GIVING MILLIONS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE AGAIN” ((CHELLY))THE ZEBRAFISH IS USED OFTEN TO STUDY HUMAN TRAITS AND DISEASES BECAUSE THEY SHARE 70 PERCENT HUMANS’ GENETIC CODE. BEFORE HUMAN TESTING, THEY WILL HAVE TO TEST ON SMALLER MAMMALS, SUCH AS MICE AND SEE IF THEY CAN SUPPRESS A PARTICULAR MIRCO- RNA THAT REGULATES THE MULLER GLIA CELL.((CHELLY))AND THAT’S YOUR HEALTHWATCH, I’M CHELLY BOUTOTT LOCAL THREE NEWS. 3

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