Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Eye specialists `light up the brain` to understand sight defects

07.10.2002


Eye specialists at the University of Leicester are using a new technique of ‘lighting up the brain’ to investigate and understand eye diseases.



The Ulverscroft Foundation has funded a new five-year research post at the University to probe into the link between the eyes and the brain with a view to increasing knowledge about common eye problems and improving treatment for patients. The Foundation is a charity that the funds production of large print books for visually impaired people.

The University Department of Ophthalmology, based at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, is using the funding for an fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Physicist, Dr Catherine Bennett, who is working with University and NHS colleagues in the Departments’, Radiology and Medical Physics.


Head of Ophthalmology at the University of Leicester, Professor Irene Gottlob, said: “Brain scanning, using the methods of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), is used routinely to image the brain and detect abnormalities such as tumours. Although it may seem obvious that we `see` with our eyes - it is the brain that analyses what our eyes see and controls how our eyes move.

Professor Gottlob and Dr Bennett are using a new technique called functional MRI, which takes the MRI one step further.

“This method visualises changes in blood flow in the brain that accompany brain activity. By doing this, it is possible to see which areas of the brain `light up`, or become active, as people look at different pictures and patterns. Understanding how the brain works in conjunction with the eyes is an important step to fully understanding what happens in eye diseases.”

Professor Gottlob said the method was usually used by brain researchers to study normal brain function and neurological disorders - only a few eye diseases have been investigated by this method.

“A large part of the brain is involved in processing the information from what the eye sees but also is responsible for controlling the movement of the eye. The University of Leicester now plans to concentrate on how eye diseases affect brain function,” said Professor Gottlob.

Patients with a number of conditions would be helped with greater understanding of eye problems. Said Professor Gottlob: “There are many common disorders of the visual system, where we don’t understand how the brain has changed.”

“If people have missing parts of their peripheral vision (enlarged `blind spots`), for example, due to glaucoma, they are not aware of the missing information. This often leads to people not recognising their symptoms and being treated too late. The brain `fills-in` the missing information, so the patient sees a complete picture. However, in some patients with a loss of central vision, filling-in could help to orientate a person.”

“Another example is with the eye movement disorder nystagmus where the eyes continually `wobble`. Some patients report a continually moving world, whereas to others the world seems perfectly normal and stationary. We will investigate how the brain and eye work together to do this.”

The Departments of Radiology and Medical Physics have recently purchased and installed a state-of-the-art MRI scanner from Siemens Medical Systems. It is this system that is being used to scan volunteers and patients for the above research. Prior to this post, Dr Bennett worked for Siemens and acquired expert knowledge on the same MRI system, providing training to radiographers and radiologists throughout the UK. Because of her expert knowledge, Dr Bennett is working close together with Radiologists and Radiographers from at the Leicester Royal Infirmary to further develop scanning methods for NHS patients. Research scanning is performed in the evenings or weekends, so no scanning time is taken away from the hospital.

Ather Mirza | alfa

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>