Scientists Develop ‘Granules’ That Can Be Injected Into A Patient’s Eye To Prevent Cataracts
Scientists have developed a “pellet” implant that is injected into the eye to prevent cataracts from forming – and could even reverse the growth of existing cataracts without surgery.
The implant, which is believed to work by lowering calcium levels in the eye, is currently being tested in the first clinical trial.
Around 350,000 cataract surgeries are performed in the UK each year, and it is estimated that one in three people aged 65 has cataracts in one or both eyes.
Cataracts are cloudy spots on the lens of the eye that cause blurred vision and possible blindness if left untreated.
Most cataracts develop as a result of age-related lens changes, especially oxidative stress. This happens when there is an imbalance between free radicals (unstable atoms that damage cells) and antioxidants (which control free radicals).
Cells in the body produce both, although factors such as smoking, heavy drinking, and exposure to chemicals can speed up the production of free radicals.
Scientists have developed a ‘pellet’ implant that is injected into the eye to prevent cataracts from forming – and could even reverse the growth of existing cataracts without surgery (stock image)
As we age, fewer antioxidants are produced, which leads to oxidative stress, which leads to tissue damage (proteins and fibers in the lens begin to break down) and a build-up of calcium in the lens.
Cataracts can also be linked to conditions like diabetes and to medications, including long-term steroid use.
The cloudy lens can be replaced in a 30-minute operation under local anesthesia – the surgeon makes a small incision in the eye to remove the lens and replace it with a plastic lens.
The implant treatment, NPI-002, from the US company Nacuity Pharmaceuticals, could mean that such surgery is no longer necessary.
The implant is loaded with antioxidants and injected into the vitreous body – the gel-like fluid between the lens and the retina (the light-sensitive area of the eye).
The implant slowly releases its contents into the vitreous, which transports it to the lens where it acts on the cataract. The solution includes N-acetylcysteine amide (NACA), an effective antioxidant.
Around 350,000 cataract surgeries are performed in the UK each year, and it is estimated that one in three people aged 65 has cataracts in one or both eyes (stock image)
An animal study by ophthalmologists at the University of Washington in the United States and other centers, published in the journal BMC Ophthalmology in 2018, showed that the implant prevented and reduced the severity of cataracts.
It also led to an increase in protective antioxidants and a reduction in calcium levels to 2.5 times lower than in a control group.
The first human trial, in the United States, will begin soon and will involve 30 patients aged 65 and over with cataracts.
Gwyn Williams, consultant ophthalmologist at Singleton Hospital in Swansea, said: “It’s a very interesting idea and I can’t wait to see the results.
“Cataracts are multifactorial and I am skeptical of the effectiveness of this approach alone, although that remains to be seen.”
Oily fish can stop deafness but only if you are a woman
Eating oily fish may prevent hearing loss in women, but does not appear to help men, say scientists at the University of Madrid in Spain.
The team analyzed the diets of 105,000 men and women and found that women who ate the most fatty fish, which are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), were 31% less at risk of hearing problems, reports the European Journal of Nutrition.
Researchers believe this is because PUFAs reduce chronic inflammation, which is thought to play a role in hearing loss.
More research into why it made no difference to men is planned.
A Covid vaccine in pill form is being tested in a small trial in Israel. The pill has a barrier coating to protect the vaccine from being broken down high up in the digestive tract before it can reach the bloodstream through the intestine. The Oravax pill trial, developed by Oramed, involves 24 volunteers, none of whom have had any other vaccine.
Simple changes in your daily routine can improve your health. This week: more socializing
Chatting with a number of different people every day can improve your memory and lower your risk for diseases such as dementia, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University in America.
They asked 312 elderly people to track the number, quality and closeness of their daily social interactions for 16 days and to perform memory-based tests on a cell phone.
Those who had more frequent daily social interactions had better memory and responded faster to tests.
Writing in the journal PLoS One, the researchers suggested that close relationships may indicate that someone has higher levels of emotional support, which prevents stress (a risk factor for memory loss).
Increased social interaction can also mean that they participate in other activities, such as exercise.
Chatting with a number of different people every day can improve your memory and lower your risk for diseases such as dementia, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University in America (stock image)
Could flashes of light help memory loss?
Glasses that send flashes of light to the brain could help Alzheimer’s patients – or that’s what an American trial is hoping to confirm.
Researchers at Icahn’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine will test the device, which flashes 40 times per second, to see if it can help relieve symptoms of brain disease, including daytime sleepiness and restlessness. In studies on mice, light increased the activity of gamma brain waves, known to be involved in learning and memory, and thought to be reduced in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
In the study, patients with early signs of the disease will use either the light delivery system or another type of light (a lamp, for example).
Dark chocolate can make exercise easier in middle age. In a study at Liverpool Hope University, 17 sedentary adults were given either a capsule filled with cocoa flavanol (found in dark chocolate) or a placebo for a week, then asked to perform fitness tests on a bicycle. apartment. Those who had flavanol had faster oxygen uptake during exercise, which made it easier, reports the European Journal of Applied Physiology. Flavanol increases blood flow, increasing oxygen uptake.
Those who had flavanol had faster oxygen uptake during exercise, which made it easier, reports the European Journal of Applied Physiology (stock image)