Gene therapy mends optic nerves in promising advance for treating glaucoma

By Nick Lavars November 05, 2020

A breakthrough in gene therapy has raised hopes of new treatments for glaucoma, a leading cause of vision loss

Researchers in Australia are claiming an important breakthrough in glaucoma research, demonstrating how the degenerative condition can be treated using an innovative form of gene therapy. The technique was shown to be effective at repairing and protecting damaged optic nerves with unprecedented effectiveness, raising hopes of tackling the irreversible form of vision loss that affects millions worldwide.

As the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the US, glaucoma takes hold as the nerve linking the brain and eye endures ongoing damage, usually due to high pressure in the eye, causing a breakdown in the relay of visual information. This type of injury to optic nerve cells cannot be repaired, though further damage can be avoided through various treatments.

At the center of this new breakthrough is a protein called protrudin, and the gene responsible for producing it. Protrudin is normally found in low levels in non-regenerative neurons, and the research team, from the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and the University of Melbourne, set out to see if they could give them a boost.

The experiments were carried out in cultures in the lab, where brain cells were grown and then injured with a laser. A gene was then added to the mix that successfully increased protrudin levels in the cells, which in turn improved their ability to repair and regenerate.

In tests on eye and optic nerve cells, the researchers found this technique led to significant regeneration weeks after the injury. In an experiment where nerve cells from a mouse retina were grown in cell culture in a way that would normally result in widespread cell death, the technique served to offer them almost complete protection.

“What we’ve seen is the strongest regeneration of any technique we’ve used before,” says Professor Keith Martin from the Centre for Eye Research Australia. “In the past it seemed impossible we would be able to regenerate the optic nerve but this research shows the potential of gene therapy to do this.”

From here, the team plans to carry out further studies exploring how the technique can be used to protect and regenerate human retinal cells and even potentially restore sight.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Brain Scans Show a Whole Spectrum of COVID-19 Abnormalities We Can’t Fully Explain


Massachusetts Voters Overwhelmingly Pass Car Right-to-Repair Ballot Initiative ( 21

Posted by msmash on Wednesday November 04, 2020 @03:50PM from the moving-forward dept.

Massachusetts overwhelmingly voted to extend its automobile right to repair law, in a huge win for consumers. From a report: Question 1 was the most expensive measure battle in Massachusetts history with the auto industry (and independent repair companies) spending tens of millions of dollars lobbying, according to the Boston Globe.

The measure is an essential win for independent mechanics, auto-repair shops, and consumers, as it will require car manufacturers to continue to make diagnostic tools available for years to come. Under the law, car manufacturers will be required to use an open-data system in cars using telematics. This means mechanics will have access to wirelessly sent repair data — whether they are associated with an official car dealership or an independent shop.

While cars currently use a wired connection for diagnostics, there was concern among independent repair professionals that car manufacturers would switch to a wireless system in order to circumvent a 2012 right to repair law that required car dealers make wired repair codes universal. As new car models are produced in coming years, the thought is many will ditch physical diagnostic ports and instead, cars will wirelessly send repair information. Tuesday’s ballot measure closes a loophole in the 2012 law that would have exempted wireless diagnostics from the law.

Right to repair advocates have hailed the measure. iFixit’s Kevin Purdy wrote of the significance of the vote, “that means that independent repair shops will have a level playing field with car makers and dealerships, which have turned increasingly to locked-down wirelessly collected repair data, or telematics.

Car owners, too, will be able to see their cars’ maintenance information through a smartphone app. And it opens the door for innovations, like wireless diagnostic apps for iOS and Android.”


Blocking of lymphotoxin beta receptor signaling in mice lung tissue disrupted the formation of the immune cell follicles, prevented lung epithelial cell death and, surprisingly, at the same time triggered lung tissue regeneration. “The lung in those mice regenerated despite the continuous exposure to chronic cigarette smoke. We observed a full restoration of lung tissue,” says Dr. Thomas M. Conlon, part of Yildirim’s group at Helmholtz Zentrum München. “Moreover, as the mice lungs healed, co-morbidities such as muscle wasting also improved.”

New cause of COVID-19 blood clots identified

“Dipyridamole is an old drug that is safe, inexpensive, and scalable,” Kanthi says. “The FDA approved it 20 years ago to prevent clotting, but we only recently discovered its potential to block this specific type of inflammation that occurs in COVID.”

Two more days.

Two more days.

I’m tired, you’re tired, everybody’s tired.

Well, sack up, hoes. It’s going to be harder this time. Dark and getting darker, cold and getting colder, the isolation starting to freak everybody out. I have a bottle of champagne if it goes one way and a bottle of scotch if it goes another and I’ve got bail money for you and you and you and you, just tell me what you need.

There are a couple of things we need to talk about first.

There’s a reason things broke when they did, when it seemed like a corner turned, and it was when Joe Biden stood next to Donald Trump on the debate stage. Not because of anything either of them said, honestly, but because of the unavoidable contrast between someone who gives a damn about others and someone who just wants to scream.

Hunter’s laptop, e-mails, lockdowns, whatever they think socialism is, the shifting sands of deep-state conspiracies and unsuccessful coups … for most ordinary people it all just became too much. And when you’re juggling work from home and work from masked-up misery and homeschooling and hybrid schooling and which of your friends just tested positive and who’s even in charge of where you can go anymore and what’s safe to do, when you’ve spent the past six months lurching from crisis to crisis and the country’s spent the past four years doing the same … the contrast with someone who just says look at this, I can do better than this, is undeniable.

When people talk longingly of a forgotten time, it’s almost always for moments when things seemed easy, or at least easier. When they felt secure, when they felt that what they were doing was right with the world. Sure, some of that was laziness, but not all of it. Some of it defeated depressions. Some of it won wars. Not all the slogans are empty and not all the platitudes are meaningless, especially if they translate into the soup kitchen and the shelter, into lifting up the widow and the orphan and the stranger.

Not all the prayers are only poetry. Some of the poetry is work. And for months we’ve been doing the work, and it seemed for so long like nobody noticed, because all we heard from up above us was to hate and fear and rage and defend, defend, defend, against our neighbors, against everything out there in the world. As if the world isn’t ours, too, isn’t what we make it, can’t be made and unmade every single day with a thousand small actions that only seem meaningless if you can’t see the whole.

That’s what leadership does. It tells us what the whole is. And for the past month we’ve had a voice speaking with clarity and courage about what we have done for each other and what we can do. I don’t think any of us realized how hungry we were for it until we heard. I don’t think any of us realized how small and mean we were until there was someone else we couldn’t ignore saying just the absolute opposite.

Leadership tells us a story about who we are in order to teach us who we can be. The most of it is up to us, always, to keep each other safe and take care of each other. Stories alone can’t save us, but stories don’t make us dumber and they don’t make us poorer and they don’t have to make us selfish and angry and scared. We are a nation founded with the written word, with the declaration, and every day we can declare over and over again: This is who we are. Every day the answer can be different.

Maybe today it will be. Maybe tomorrow.


Massachusetts Votes on Expanding Access To Car Data, ‘Could Set the National Standard’ ( 11

Posted by Editor David on Sunday November 01, 2020 @04:36PM from the rights-for-repair dept.

On Tuesday Massachusetts will vote on expanding the state’s right-to-repair law to include more access to car data, in an initiated state statute known as “Question 1.”

Wired reports: The measure is meant to address how data sharing will work as cars start to suck in and share more wireless data. The Coalition for Safe and Secure Data, backed by giant automakers, is urging state residents to vote No, arguing that easier access to this data poses security risks.

At the core of the issue is the not-insignificant question of what expanded access to wireless car data might look like and how secure that is. It’s not just a question of who can repair a car and access the data, but who owns the data in the first place. The answer could ripple across the industry for years to come, which is why both sides of Question 1 have poured millions of dollars into the fight. And because the U.S. has been slower to address these issues in federal legislation, Question 1 could have impact beyond Massachusetts state lines. Ultimately, the measure “could set the national standard for cars,” according to Kyle Wiens, the founder of California-based iFixit and a vocal right-to-repair advocate…

If a majority of Massachusetts residents vote Yes on Question 1 this fall, carmakers would have to install standardized, open data-sharing platforms on any cars with telematics systems starting with model year 2022. “Owners of motor vehicles with telematics systems would get access to mechanical data through a mobile device application,” the ballot summary reads…

Early polling suggests the state of Massachusetts will vote overwhelmingly in favor Question 1
“Hopefully this means we have an open-standard development process,” Wiens tells Wired, “with all cars in the U.S. using the same standard, and a new world of innovation around mobile apps.”

Drought Map for Oct. 29th 2020


What’s Love?

The problem is,
We look for someone to grow old together,
While the secret is to find someone to stay a child with!
(Charles Bukowski)

What does LoVe mean to 4-8 year old kids? Slow down for a few minutes to read this…💕

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does love mean?’ The answers they got were broader, deeper, and more profound than anyone could have ever imagined!

‘When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore… So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’ Rebecca – age 8

‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’ Billy – age 4

‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’ Karl – age 5

‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’ Chrissy – age 6

‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’ Terri – age 4

‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’ Danny – age 8

‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.’ Bobby – age 7 (Wow!)

‘If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.’ Nikka – age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)

‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.’ Noelle – age 7

‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’ Tommy – age 6

‘During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.
He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’ Cindy – age 8

‘My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’ Clare – age 6

‘Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’ Elaine – age 5

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’ Chris – age 7

‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.’ Mary Ann – age 4

‘I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’ Lauren – age 4

‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’ (what an image!) Karen – age 7

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross…’ Mark – age 6

‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.’ Jessica – age 8

And the final one: The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry.’
(this made me cry!)

Now, take a few seconds and post this for others to inspire and spread LoVe like butter!
And then be a child again today!💖

Bears Go To Heaven Too