Add Cataracts To The List Of Smoking Related Diseases; See Why Smokers Need To Keep An Eye On This

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Posted on 10th May 2011 by Pacific ClearVision Institute in Cataracts |General

Studies have shown that tobacco cigarette smoking can now cause blindness due to cataracts to smokers who smoke on a daily basis. Scientist performed a study of men and women who smoke cigarettes and over that time, these scientists came to the conclusion that all these smokers increased their chances of developing cataracts which attacks the eyes and damages the vision and potentially causing blindness if not treated properly.

These studies proved that the people who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day had a 65% chance of developing cataracts than people who were none smokers. These studies have also concluded that anyone who lives in a household with a person who smokes is at a greater risk to be diagnosed with asthma and other tobacco cigarette related illness due to the second hand smoke.

Needless to say, anyone who smokes tobacco cigarettes are at a much greater risk to be diagnosed with smoking related illnesses such as lung and heart disease as time goes on but these studies have shown that cataracts and blindness should be reason alone to quit smoking. All smokers need to be aware of these harmful side effects of smoking cigarettes and should quit the habit at all costs or find a safer alternative.

With this in mind, Solar Cigarette has reached out to the World Cataract Foundation (W.C.F) in an attempt to help motivate smokers to quit smoking and help them lower their risks of developing cataracts and even blindness in their future by introducing their unique smokeless cigarettes.

Since these smokeless cigarettes don’t pass down second hand smoke or have the terrible carcinogens of smoking traditional cigarettes, smokers can now eliminate the deadly effects of second hand smoke that could possibly hinder their health and the health of those around them.

Read the story on People Who Smoke Are At A greater Risk To Develop Cataracts =======

“Everyone know that there are so many diseases that are caused by smoking tobacco cigarettes, but now we can add another one to the list and it goes by the name of cataracts. Cataracts is a disease that attacks the eyes and causes blurry vision at first but if not treated soon it will cause permanent blindness.”

“Studies have shown that smoking tobacco increases the chances for smokers to develop cataracts by over 40%. This is just another reason, or lets say warning that tobacco cigarette smokers need to quit smoking or find a safer alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes.”

One of the major problems with anyone who smokes cigarettes is that there is no way to understand how much damage smoking tobacco cigarettes can do to their bodies until it is too late. Anyone who smokes, especially on a regular basis, do not realize that if they keep on smoking cigarettes they are placing themselves in harms way by restricting blood flow to their brain which will eventually cause them to have a stroke, let alone other serious diseases like heart disease, lung cancer, and cataracts.

Many men and women who smoke have tried to quit the habit in the past but have failed because the nicotine cravings are just too overwhelming. Young women who smoke cigarettes have a much more difficult time with quitting their smoking habit because it is emotionally harder for them to quit because of the fear of gaining too much weight after they have quit.

In order to satisfy the nicotine cravings, many smokers start to eat just about anything they can get their hands on which is the reason why smoking has been linked to extreme weight gain. Now, smokers have a much healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes and have their fears of gaining weight can be nullified when they use these new smokeless cigarettes from Solar Cigarette.

The head of Solar Cigarette says that second hand smoke and the fear of weight gain is on the rise amongst the smoking community. If smokers don’t find a safer alternative to smoking, they could severely effect the health of their children and put other non smokers at risk as well.

The Solar Cigarette smokeless cigarettes can and will help smokers quit the habit for good but also help them lose weight with the use of their vitamin packs which supply the smoker with the supplements the body needs to fight the hunger cravings, and help turn food into fuel which the body can burn and give them the freedom to smoke in public places without having to pass down second hand smoke to non smokers.

The director of relations for Solar Cigarette is currently offering a 14 day trial of the smokeless cigarette to give cigarette smokers that added edge to help them quit the habit. Now smokers can smoke anywhere they please and avoid fines from the public smoking bans.

With the use of the Solar Cigarette 14 trial and the vitamin packs, smokers can live a rejuvenated life clean and free of tobacco and help prevent weight gain in the future.

Studies have concluded that second hand smoke is now labeled as a Class A Carcinogen which can be deadly not only for non smokers, but also for children who live in a household with people who smoke as well. With the rising issue of second hand smoke, Solar Cigarette has introduced a smokeless cigarette that uses water vapor technology to deliver the nicotine to the smoker which in turn provides a healthier way of smoking not only for the smoker but also provides no second hand smoke to non smokers as well.

Artificial Retinal Implants Must Adapt to Unique Features of Human Eye to Be Effective, Experts Say

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Posted on 10th May 2011 by Pacific ClearVision Institute in General |Retina

In the May issue of Physics World, Richard Taylor, professor of physics, psychology and art at the University of Oregon, warns that artificial retinal implants — a technology fast becoming a reality — must adapt to the unique features of the human eye in order to become an effective treatment.

The gap between digital camera technology and the human eye is getting ever smaller, in terms of both the number of light-sensitive detectors and the space that they occupy. A human retina typically contains 127 million photoreceptors spread over an area of 1100 mm2. In comparison, today’s state-of-the-art CMOS sensors feature 16.6 million photoreceptors over an area of 1600 mm2.

Despite the impressive progress of camera technology, several differences still remain, which is why, Taylor states, camera technology cannot simply be incorporated into the eye to restore the vision of patients with damaged rods and cones.

Taylor highlights that the eye tends to see what is directly in front of it — as the majority of its seven million cones are concentrated centrally — and less so on the periphery, whereas a camera captures everything in uniform detail with its pixels spread evenly across its entire field of view.

As such, the eye has to continually scan small areas to ensure that the image of interest falls mainly on the fovea — a pin-sized region positioned directly behind the lens that is crucial when visualizing detail. This is because the human eye exploits fractal patterns — geometric shapes that are present throughout nature and repeat themselves down to the smallest scale. If the eye employed the uniform distribution of photoreceptors found in cameras, there would simply be too much information for the brain to process in real time.

Furthermore, Taylor states how certain natural fractal patterns such as clouds, trees and rivers are more aesthetically pleasing and can greatly reduce stress. This stress-reduction process would not occur with a camera-based implant as movement in the eye would become unnecessary, eventually leading to the eye learning not to move and therefore not activating the relevant areas of the brain to relieve stress.

As Taylor writes, “Remarkably, implants based purely on camera designs might allow blind people to see, but they might only see a world devoid of stress-reducing beauty. This flaw emphasizes the subtleties of the human visual system and the potential downfalls of adopting, rather than adapting, camera technology for eye.”

In addition to the problem of photoreceptor distribution, Taylor also highlights the problem of connecting an implant’s electrodes to retinal neurons, which are fractal in structure and tend to stay intact even if the eye’s rods and cones themselves are damaged by disease. A solution to this, developed by Taylor and his colleagues, is nanocluster deposition.

This involves the delivery, through an inert gas, of nanoclusters of materials onto the photodiodes of an implant. These clusters then self-assemble into the required fractal shape and enhance the connection between retinal implants and healthy neurons while at the same time allowing light to pass through onto the photodiode.

Research Identifies Risk Factors Associated With Progression of Glaucoma

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Posted on 10th May 2011 by Pacific ClearVision Institute in General

Elevated pressure inside the eye, cornea thinning, and visual field loss are all markers that glaucoma may progress, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Glaucoma is one of the world’s leading causes of permanent vision loss. It is a group of diseases that can lead to damage of the optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. Previous studies of glaucoma risk factors do not always represent the majority of patients or real-world practices in treating them. “The purpose of our study is to verify whether the main risk factors identified in populations enrolled in the major RCTs [randomized clinical trials] can also be applied to populations seen in scenarios that more closely resemble a typical clinical practice,” explain the authors.

Carlos Gustavo V. De Moraes, M.D., from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and colleagues collected data from patients who were enrolled in the New York Glaucoma Progression Study and who had at least eight visits for visual field loss. The study included disc photographs; visual field analysis; and measurement of peak intraocular pressure (IOP), the highest level of pressure in the fluid within the eye. A total of 587 eyes of 587 patients were evaluated.

Researchers found that glaucoma was more likely to progress when peak IOP was 18 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) or higher. Other risk factors included thinning of the cornea, presence of disc hemorrhage in the retina of the eye, and atrophy in part of the eye.

According to the authors, perhaps the most significant findings involved the effect of IOP: “We demonstrated that for each increase in millimeters of mercury in IOP, there is a significant increase in the risk of progression for treated glaucoma patients.” Since this is a simple measurement to take in the clinical setting, the findings “may help clinicians decide how aggressively to treat specific patients to slow the rate of glaucoma progression,” the authors write. They also pointed to disc hemorrhage as “an indirect sign” of visual field loss that may already have occurred, and erosion of the visual field as well as cornea thinning as predictors of glaucoma progression.

Forecast Calls for Nanoflowers to Help Return Eyesight: Physicist Leads Effort to Design Fractal Devices to Put in Eyes

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Posted on 10th May 2011 by Pacific ClearVision Institute in General |Retina

University of Oregon researcher Richard Taylor is on a quest to grow flowers that will help people who’ve lost their sight, such as those suffering from macular degeneration, to see again.

These flowers are not roses, tulips or columbines. They will be nanoflowers seeded from nano-sized particles of metals that grow, or self assemble, in a natural process — diffusion limited aggregation. They will be fractals that mimic and communicate efficiently with neurons.

Fractals are “a trademark building block of nature,” Taylor says. Fractals are objects with irregular curves or shapes, of which any one component seen under magnification is also the same shape. In math, that property is self-similarity. Trees, clouds, rivers, galaxies, lungs and neurons are fractals, Taylor says. Today’s commercial electronic chips are not fractals, he adds.

Eye surgeons would implant these fractal devices within the eyes of blind patients, providing interface circuitry that would collect light captured by the retina and guide it with almost 100 percent efficiency to neurons for relay to the optic nerve to process vision.

In an article titled “Vision of beauty” for Physics World, Taylor, a physicist and director of the UO Materials Science Institute, describes his envisioned approach and how it might overcome the problems occurring with current efforts to insert photodiodes behind the eyes. Current chip technology is limited, because it doesn’t allow sufficient connections with neurons.

“The wiring — the neurons — in the retina is fractal, but the chips are not fractal,” Taylor says. “They are just little squares of electrodes that provide too little overlap with the neurons.”

Beginning this summer, Taylor’s doctoral student Rick Montgomery will begin a yearlong collaboration with Simon Brown at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand to experiment with various metals to grow the fractal flowers on implantable chips.

The idea for the project emerged as Taylor was working under a Cottrell Scholar Award he received in 2003 from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. His vision is now beginning to blossom under grants from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the U.S. Air Force and the National Science Foundation.

Taylor’s theoretical concept for fractal-based photodiodes also is the focus of a U.S. patent application filed by the UO’s Office of Technology Transfer under Taylor’s and Brown’s names, the UO and University of Canterbury.

The project, he writes in the Physics World article, is based on “the striking similarities between the eye and the digital camera.” (Physics World article is available at: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/indepth/45840)

“The front end of both systems,” he writes, “consists of an adjustable aperture within a compound lens, and advances bring these similarities closer each year.” Digital cameras, he adds, are approaching the capacity to capture the 127 megapixels of the human eye, but current chip-based implants, because of their interface, are only providing about 50 pixels of resolution.

Among the challenges, Taylor says, is determining which metals can best go into body without toxicity problems. “We’re right at the start of this amazing voyage,” Taylor says. “The ultimate thrill for me will be to go to a blind person and say, we’re developing a chip that one day will help you see again. For me, that is very different from my previous research, where I’ve been looking at electronics to go into computers, to actually help somebody … if I can pull that off that will be a tremendous thrill for me.”

Taylor also is working under a Research Corp. grant to pursue fractal-based solar cells.

Why the Eye Is Better Than a Camera at Capturing Contrast and Faint Detail Simultaneously

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Posted on 10th May 2011 by Pacific ClearVision Institute in General |Retina

The human eye long ago solved a problem common to both digital and film cameras: how to get good contrast in an image while also capturing faint detail.

Nearly 50 years ago, physiologists described the retina’s tricks for improving contrast and sharpening edges, but new experiments by University of California, Berkeley, neurobiologists show how the eye achieves this without sacrificing shadow detail.

“One of the big success stories, and the first example of information processing by the nervous system, was the discovery that the nerve cells in the eye inhibit their neighbors, which allows the eye to accentuate edges,” said Richard Kramer, UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology. “This is great if you only care about edges. But we also want to know about the insides of objects, especially in dim light.”

Kramer and former graduate student Skyler L. Jackman, now a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University, discovered that while light-sensitive nerve cells in the retina inhibit dozens of their close neighbors, they also boost the response of the nearest one or two nerve cells.

That extra boost preserves the information in individual light detecting cells — the rods and cones — thereby retaining faint detail while accentuating edges, Kramer said. The rods and cones thus get both positive and negative feedback from their neighbors.

“By locally offsetting negative feedback, positive feedback boosts the photoreceptor signal while preserving contrast enhancement,” he said.

Jackman, Kramer and their colleagues at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha report their findings May 3 in the journal PLoS Biology. Kramer also will report the findings at the 2011 annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

From horseshoe crabs to humans

The fact that retinal cells inhibit their neighbors, an activity known as “lateral inhibition,” was first observed in horseshoe crabs by physiologist H. Keffer Hartline. That discovery earned him a share of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. This form of negative feedback was later shown to take place in the vertebrate eye, including the human eye, and has since been found in many sensory systems as a way, for example, to sharpen the discrimination of pitch or touch.

Lateral inhibition fails, however, to account for the eye’s ability to detect faint detail near edges, including the fact that we can see small, faint spots that ought to be invisible if their detection is inhibited by encircling retinal cells.

Kramer noted that the details of lateral inhibition are still a mystery half a century after Hartline’s discovery. Neurobiologists still debate whether the negative feedback involves an electrical signal, a chemical neurotransmitter, or protons that change the acidity around the cell.

“The field is at an impasse,” Kramer said. “And we were surprised to find this fundamental new phenomenon, despite the fact that the anatomy of the retina has been known for more than 40 years.”

The retina in vertebrates is lined with a sheet of photoreceptor cells: the cones for day vision and the rods for night vision. The lens of the eye focuses images onto this sheet, and like the pixels in a digital camera, each photoreceptor generates an electrical response proportional to the intensity of the light falling on it. The signal releases a chemical neurotransmitter (glutamate) that affects neurons downstream, ultimately reaching the brain.

Unlike the pixels of a digital camera, however, photoreceptors affect the photoreceptors around them through so-called horizontal cells, which underlie and touch as many as 100 individual photoreceptors. The horizontal cells integrate signals from all these photoreceptors and provide broad inhibitory feedback. This feedback is thought to underlie lateral inhibition, a process that sharpens our perception of contrast and color, Kramer said.

The new study shows that the horizontal cells also send positive feedback to the photoreceptors that have detected light, and perhaps to one or two neighboring photoreceptors.

“Positive feedback is local, whereas negative feedback extends laterally, enhancing contrast between center and surround,” Kramer said.

Electrical vs. chemical signals

The two types of feedback work by different mechanisms, the researchers found. The horizontal cells undergo an electrical change when they receive neurotransmitter signals from the photoreceptors, and this voltage change quickly propagates throughout the cell, affecting dozens of nearby photoreceptors to lower their release of the glutamate neurotransmitter.

The positive feedback, however, involves chemical signaling. When a horizontal cell receives glutamate from a photoreceptor, calcium ions flow into the horizontal cell. These ions trigger the horizontal cell to “talk back” to the photoreceptor, Kramer said. Because calcium doesn’t spread very far within the horizontal cell, the positive feedback signal stays local, affecting only one or two nearby photoreceptors.

The discovery of a new and unsuspected feedback mechanism in a very well-studied organ is probably related to how the eye is studied, Kramer said. Electrodes are typically stuck into the retina to both change the voltage in cells and record changes in voltage. Because the new signal is chemical, not electrical, it would have been easily missed.

Jackman and Kramer found the same positive feedback in the cones of a zebrafish, lizard, salamander, anole (whose retina contains only cones) and rabbit, proving that “this is not just some weird thing that happens in lizards; it seems to be true across all vertebrates and presumably humans,” Kramer said.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the organization Research to Prevent Blindness.

Coauthors with Kramer and Jackman are Norbert Babai and Wallace B. Thoreson of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and James J. Chambers of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.