Romina, a female Western lowland gorilla at Bristol Zoo Gardens, has successfully undergone pioneering surgery to restore her sight in the first ever cataract operation performed in Europe on an adult gorilla. Born with cataracts, 21-year-old Romina underwent the two-hour procedure at the University of Bristol`s Veterinary Hospital in March and, for the first time in her life, she can now see the world around her clearly.
Romina was born at Rome Zoo and hand-reared. Before her arrival in the UK in November 2001, Bristol Zoo Gardens were notified of concerns about her eyesight. Health checks carried out by Head of Veterinary Services at Bristol Zoo Gardens, Sharon Redrobe, revealed that she had cataracts in both eyes, allowing only minimal peripheral vision.
Jenny Watts, a medical ophthalmologist from the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester carried out the delicate surgery assisted by veterinary ophthalmologist David Gould, from the University of Bristol.
With only a handful of operations of this kind having been carried out on gorillas before, and this the first of its kind in Europe, the team lacked basic information such as the exact structure of a gorilla`s eye. Although this operation is usually carried out on conscious patients in human medicine, accurate anaesthesia was critical to ensure that the 120kg gorilla remained completely unconscious throughout the operation.
The majority of the operation was taken up by detailed ultrasound measurements of the eye to calculate the strength of the artificial lens required. A process called phaco-emulsification was used to break up the cloudy cataract by ultrasound, so that it could be removed prior to the insertion of the foldable silicon artificial lens - exactly the same procedure carried out in human cataract surgery.
Following the successful outcome of this first operation, a second cataract operation is planned to restore Romina`s bilateral vision. Sharon Redrobe, Bristol Zoo Garden`s vet, said: "As soon as Romina came round from the operation we could tell that she could see. She immediately reached towards food without resorting to feeling her way. We`re delighted that the operation has been so successful and that she is having the chance to explore her surroundings and companions properly for the first time."
Romina has now been reunited with her companions, 18-year-old silverback male Bongo and 25-year-old female Salome, after a period of post-operative recuperation - during which the risk of infection was the greatest concern. Melanie Gage, Overseer of Primates, explained: "We had to encourage Romina to come as close as possible to the keeping team so that we could safely give her antibiotic eye drops four times a day both before and following the operation. In the end, we devised a system of drizzling the solution through a catheter, so that the drops ran gently into her eye."
Romina and Bongo joined Salome at Bristol Zoo Gardens from Rome Zoo in November 2001 as part of the international conservation breeding programme for the western lowland gorilla. Dr Jo Gipps, Director of Bristol Zoo Gardens, explained: "It used to be thought that lowland gorillas were significantly more plentiful than their highly threatened cousins, mountain gorillas. Now, forest destruction for logging and the effect of the illegal bushmeat trade means that lowland gorillas face serious losses in the wild population. So Romina, Bongo and Salome are extremely important and we very much hope that they will go on to breed in the near future. With her convalescence over, visitors can see Romina and her companions on Bristol Zoo Gardens` Gorilla Island and find out more about these noble creatures.
"They can also learn about the Zoo`s conservation work to protect gorillas in the wild and the significant role we are playing in the European-wide Bushmeat Campaign to halt this illegal trade."
Joanne Fryer | alphagalileo
Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat
22.03.2018 | Tufts University
NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
22.03.2018 | Life Sciences
22.03.2018 | Life Sciences
22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences