Researchers Come Up with Prosthetic Device that Gives Blind Mice Close-to-Normal Vision

Research into drugs and devices that could help people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to regain their lost eyesight is nothing new, but every now and then a significant development gives a new glimmer of hope.

Such is the case in an article recently published the Examiner. According to the article, researchers at Cornell University, Chethan Pandarinath and Sheila Nirenberg to be specific, have unveiled the first prosthetic contraption that reestablishes near-normal sight to blind rodents. The article cited research mentioned in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

According to the article, the researchers figured out the encoding pattern that properly-functioning vision requires to take nerve impulses and translate them into nerve impulse patterns that can be transmitted to the ganglion cells from the retina. These ganglion cells, according to the article, are then directed to the brain where the impulses are translated into vision.

According to the article, the researchers created a prosthetic device, or an implant, capable of converting vision input into electrical impulses that are comparable to those created in the normal vision process. By so doing, they were able to permit mice to make out facial features and follow an image. According to the article, the prosthetic device was able to bring about a traditional ganglion cell response nine times out of 10. And the prosthetic device was able to bring about a signal transfer rate amounting to 96% of regular vision.

The article noted that the researchers’ findings represents one of the most significant developments as concerns helping the blind to recover their vision. The article added that the findings could eventually help the 20 million blind persons living on the planet, many of whom of eye diseases such as AMD and retinitis pigmentosa.

While there are lots of new developments on the research front, the aforementioned is one of the most positive developments in quite some time as it could one day allow blind people to regain a good portion of their vision. Details as to when the device, or something like it, could be tested on human candidates were not provided in the article.

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