Factors associated with human vision

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Optical Coherence Tomography can detect optic nerve abnormality

The body’s abnormal immune responses can damage brain and nerve cells, resulting in multiple sclerosis, muscle weakness as well as vision problems. In 2007, a study conducted by Johns Hopkins Hospital claimed that an eye test named optical coherence tomography (OCT) could be used to identify and monitor multiple sclerosis. OCT could be used to test health conditions associated with nerve cells and only cost one-tenth of the fees of performing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is a common sense that optic nerve is an integrated part of the body’s nerve system. And this new study finding suggests a new way to detect optic nerve abnormality and possibly some visual disorders that are linked with optic nerve.

More “summer infants” develop nearsightedness

Some Israeli researchers pointed out in 2007 that children born during summer months were more likely to have severe nearsightedness because of longer, sunnier days. A comparison was made between babies born in June and July and those born in December and January. The study showed that the former group had a 24% higher risk of getting serious myopia than the latter group. One explanation of the study results may be that the body’s pineal gland secretes less melatonin pigment in brighter conditions. Discovered in 1958 and named for its skin-bleaching effect upon melanin, melatonin pigment is important for eye health.

Omega-3 fatty acids prevent retinal diseases in mice

In the July issue of Nature Medicine, study results described that properly high omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of mice had been discovered to reduce abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina, thus reducing the risk of retinal diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity. These results provided a possible means to prevent retinal diseases in human. Even if the human beings have organic differences from mice, this finding is meaningful. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in nuts, flaxseed oil an old-water fish such as salmon. In contrast, another type of fatty acid known as omega-6 fatty acids was reported to raise the risk of abnormal blood vessel growth.

Blind people have super memory ability

To some extent, blind people also have their advantages. Researchers from Hebrew University have evaluated memory skills of some individuals who are born with blindness. Results of their study published in the online journal Current Biology revealed that the blind population has excellent memory skills, especially in remembering serial events. One researcher says that the exceptional ability of the blind may be achieved through long-term practice. For blind people, the outside world they experience every day is somewhat a sequence of events. After decades of daily lives, super memory skills may form.