Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Leicester breakthrough in eye disease

13.12.2006
Researchers at the University of Leicester have identified for the first time a gene which causes a distressing eye condition. heir discovery, as reported in the journal Nature Genetics, is expected to lead to better treatments for the condition.

Nystagmus causes the eyes to move in an uncontrollable manner, so that people with the condition cannot keep their eyes still. Nystagmus can be congenital (occurs at birth or in early childhood) or acquired later in life due to neurological disease.

Congenital nystagmus is frequently genetic. Treatment can be surgical, by correcting an abnormal head position (which occurs because the nystagmus is quietest in a certain direction of gaze) or by correcting a squint. The effects of Nystagmus can also be reduced by drugs.

Recently, the University of Leicester Ophthalmology Group, headed by Professor Irene Gottlob, has shown that drug treatment is helpful in congenital nystagmus, as well as in the form that develops later.

The frequency of nystagmus is unknown. However, over the last six years the Leicester Ophthalmology Group has counted all patients with the condition in the ‘Leicestershire Nystagmus Survey’, showing an occurrence of more than two in 1000 people.

Professor Gottlob commented: "The discovery of this gene will make a genetic test for idiopathic X-linked nystagmus possible. So far it has not been understood what the causes of nystagmus are. The discovery of the gene will lead to greater understanding about the protein which is abnormal in nystagmus.

“Our research also showed that the expression of the protein is changed in neuronal cells of the eye and in certain parts of the brain. Further research is now needed to understand what functional changes in the brain the gene mutations are causing.

“This will be the first time the mechanisms of nystagmus have been understood, and we hope it will lead to better drug treatments. Understanding the mechanism of nystagmus will also improve our knowledge of the control in eye movements in general.”

Nystagmus, largely under-researched, is one of a significant number of interests within the Leicester Ophthalmology Group concerned with normal and abnormal eye movements. Researchers are looking into many aspects of nystagmus, including possible drug treatments, its epidemiology, impact on visual function, adaptation of the visual system to the constant eye movements, the causes of the condition and its genetic make-up.

They are also investigating other eye movement problems, such as reading in schizophrenia and treatment for amblyopia (a lazy eye), including patching therapy with special reward incentives and the education of parents and teachers.

The University of Leicester Ophthalmology Group is seeking financial support for both current and future research. Further details on the group’s work are available from tel 0116 258 6291 or email ig15@le.ac.uk

Alex Jelley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

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: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified

05.12.2016 | Information Technology

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>