Growing human retinas in vitro, patching damaged brains, and imaging an entire brain's activity.

In the journal Nature earlier this month a paper was published by one Dr. Valeria Canto-Soler who works in the field of regenerative medicine at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns-Hopkins University. Medical science has gotten pretty good at creating induced pluripotent stem cells, or stem cells which started out as other kinds of human body cells that were hacked to devolve back into pluripotent stem cells which can then be caused to differentiate into other, more specialized kinds of cells. Dr. Canto-Soler and her research team have taken this process to the next logical step: Causing those cultured stem …

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Retinal prostheses now being tested on felines.

Prosthetic retinas are leaving the experimental stage and now are in live animal testing to shake the bugs out. A number of housecats with a condition similiar to retinitis pigmentosa, which causes blindness by killing the rod and cone cells that make up the retinas have been implanted with silicon chips 2mm on a side that replicate some of the functions of organic retinas. The chips are covered with microscopic photodiodes that register light levels, produce miniscule electrical impulses, and feed directly into the optic nerve. Similiar implants have been used in a small number of humans with this disorder …

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