Daily Archives: August 16, 2012
By Jeanna Smialek - Aug 14, 2012 7:05 PM ET
Blind mice had their vision restored with a device that helped diseased retinas send signals to the brain, according to a study that may lead to new prosthetic technology for millions of sight-impaired people.
Blind Mice See
Roger Jackman/Oxford Scientific
Blind mice had their vision restored with a device that helped diseased retinas send signals to the brain. Above, a household mouse not part of the experiment.
Blind mice had their vision restored with a device that helped diseased retinas send signals to the brain. Above, a household mouse not part of the experiment. Photographer: Roger Jackman/Oxford Scientific
Current devices are limited in the aid they provide to people with degenerative diseases of the retina, the part of the eye that converts light into electrical impulses to the brain. In research described today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists cracked the code the retina uses to communicate with the brain.
The technology moves prosthetics beyond bright light and high-contrast recognition and may be adopted for human use within a year or two, said Sheila Nirenberg, a neuroscientist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and the study’s lead author.
“What this shows is that we have the essential ingredients to make a very effective prosthetic,” Nirenberg said. Researchers haven’t yet tested the approach on humans, though have assembled the code for monkeys, she said.
Once the researchers determined the code the mouse retina used to communicate with the brain, they were able to mimic it with electric-signal sending glasses, Nirenberg said. Previous prosthetics have used less-specific stimulation and proved inherently limited as a result, she said.
About 20 million people worldwide are blind or facing blindness due to retinal degenerative diseases, such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. The disorders cause a progressive loss of the retina’s input cells, or photoreceptors.
Nirenberg and co-author Chethan Pandarinath first monitored healthy eyes to determine the set of equations that translate light received by the retina into something the brain can understand. Then, they used special glasses to create a similar code and deliver it to the eye, which had been engineered to contain light-sensitive proteins. The cells received the code through the light sensitive proteins and fired electric impulses, which the brain could interpret as images.
Nirenberg’s research “is basically giving vision back to a system that doesn’t work,” said Aude Oliva, a principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who wasn’t involved in the research.“I’ve never seen, and other people have never seen, this quality.”
No foreseeable barriers should stop the movement into humans now that the technology has been created, Oliva said. Nirenberg said that if researchers can come up with adequate cash to fund clinical trials, she hopes to soon adapt the technology.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people older than 55 in the western world and may triple in incidence by 2025 according to a 2009 report by the American Optometric Society. Retinal diseases could find a “reasonable solution” in the technology, said Jonathan Victor, a professor in the department of neurology and neuroscience at Weill who was familiar with, but not involved in the research.
“It’s a major step, it’s elegant, and it works,” he said.
In the first sign that the Fukushima nuclear disaster may be changing life around it, scientists say they’ve found mutant butterflies.
Some of the butterflies had abnormalities in their legs, antennae, and abdomens, and dents in their eyes, according to the study published in Scientific Reports, an online journal from the team behind Nature. Researchers also found that some affected butterflies had broken or wrinkled wings, changes in wing size, color pattern changes, and spots disappearing or increasing on the butterflies.
The study began two months after an earthquake and tsunami devastated swaths of northeastern Japan in March 2011, triggering a nuclear disaster. The Fukushima Daiichi plant spewed radiation and displaced tens of thousands of residents from the surrounding area in the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
In May 2011, researchers collected more than 100 pale grass blue butterflies in and around the Fukushima prefecture and found that 12% of them had abnormalities or mutations. When those butterflies mated, the rate of mutations in the offspring rose to 18%, according to the study, which added that some died before reaching adulthood. When the offspring mated with healthy butterflies that weren’t affected by the nuclear crisis, the abnormality rate rose to 34%, indicating that the mutations were being passed on through genes to offspring at high rates even when one of the parent butterflies was healthy.
The scientists wanted to find out how things stood after a longer amount of time and again collected more than 200 butterflies last September. Twenty-eight percent of the butterflies showed abnormalities, but the rate of mutated offspring jumped to 52%, according to researchers. The study indicated that second-generation butterflies, the ones collected in September, likely saw higher numbers of mutations because they were exposed to the radiation either as larvae or earlier than adult butterflies first collected.
To make sure that the nuclear disaster was in fact the cause of the mutations, researchers collected butterflies that had not been affected by radiation and gave them low-dose exposures of radiation and found similar results.
“We conclude that artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant caused physiological and genetic damage to this species,” the study said.
The results of the study bring up concerns about the larger impact of the Fukushima disaster and the impact it will have on the ecosystem in Japan and nearby areas, as well as what we can learn for future nuclear disasters.
“Our results are consistent with the previous field studies that showed that butterfly populations are highly sensitive to artificial radionuclide contamination in Chernobyl and Fukushima,” the study said. “Together, the present study indicates that the pale grass blue butterfly is probably one of the best indicator species for radionuclide contamination in Japan.”
One of the researchers, Joji Otaki, an associate professor at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, told reporters that while butterflies may be the best indicator, the study should also lead to more research on what else may be affected by the radiation.
“Sensitivity (to irradiation) varies between species, so research should be conducted on other animals,” Otaki told the Japan Times.
Otaki said while there is still plenty of research to be done on radiation, there shouldn’t be large-scale concern about this kind of mutation in humans.
“Humans are totally different from butterflies and they should be far more resistant” to radiation, he told the newspaper.
(NaturalNews) Geo-engineers are finally coming out of the “chemtrail” closet, as reports are now emerging about deliberate plans in the works to dump untold tons of sulfate chemicals into the atmosphere for the purported purpose of fighting so-called “global warming.”
The U.K.’s Guardian and others are reporting that a multi-million dollar research fund, which just so happens to have been started and funded by Microsoft founder and vaccine enthusiast Bill Gates, is being used to fund the project. A large balloon hovering at 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico, will release the sulfates into the atmosphere within the next year.
The stated purpose for this massive release of toxic sulfate particles is that doing so will allegedly reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere, and thus cool the planet. But many environmental groups and advocates of common sense are decrying the idea as dangerous, and one that could result in permanent damage to ecosystems all across the globe.
“Impacts include the potential for further damage to the ozone layer, and disruption of rainfall, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions, potentially threatening the food supplies of billions of people,” said Pat Mooney, Executive Director of the ETC Group, a Canadian environmental protection group.
“It will do nothing to decrease levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere or halt ocean acidification. And solar geo-engineering is likely to increase the risk of climate-related international conflict, given that the modeling to date shows it poses greater risks to the global south.”
But the Gates-backed cohort is persistent in its efforts to geo-graffiti the world, as its scientists insist that governments are not doing enough to fight back against the supposed environment impacts of global warming. If governments refuse to implement high enough carbon taxes to eliminate greenhouse gases, in other words, then Gates and Co. believes it has no choice but to “save the planet” by polluting it with sulfate particles.
Spraying the skies with sulfate particles will destroy the planet faster than ‘global warming’ ever could
Sulfate particles are toxic, though, and constitute the very same type of ambient particulate matter (PM) that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers to be a noxious air pollutant. Deliberately spraying the skies with tiny particles composed of any material, for that matter, is hazardous both to respiratory health in humans and animals, as well as to water sources, soils, and other delicate environmental resources.
“Sulfate particles from acid rain can cause harm to the health of marine life in the rivers and lakes it contaminates, and can result in mortality,” says an online water pollution guide (http://www.water-pollution.org.uk/health.html). A University of Washington (UW) report also explains that sulfate particles “contribute to acid rain, cause lung irritation, and have been a main culprit in causing the haze that obscures a clear view of the Grand Canyon.”
Blocking the sun with reflective particles will also deprive humans of natural sunlight exposure, which is a primary source for naturally generating health-promoting vitamin D in the body. So once again, Bill Gates is at the helms of a project that seeks to control the climate in artificial ways using toxic chemicals, an endeavor that is sure to create all sorts of potentially irreversible problems for humanity and the planet.
Sources for this article include:
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/036583_geoengineering_Bill_Gates_global_warming.html#ixzz23dN7L3kV