ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
CAREGIVING
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
10 Beginner Tips for Fast Weight Loss, the Low-Carb Way!
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
EYE CARE, VISION
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Add your Article

Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease

TUESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- When macular degeneration causes one to start losing his or her sight, the affected neurons simply start seeking visual input from other, non-affected parts of the eye, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers report.

"This study shows us one way that the brain changes when its inputs change. Neurons seem to want to receive input: When their usual input disappears, they start responding to the next best thing," senior author Nancy Kanwisher, of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research, said in an university news release.

The researchers found when the cells in the fovea, the part of the retina responsible for the central field of vision, were damaged by macular degeneration (MD) -- the neuron attached to them begin responding to stimuli in an undamaged section -- a type of internal reorganization of the eye's visual map as opposed to the cortex's work being shifting to other neurons.

"Our study shows that the changes we see in neural response in people with MD are probably driven by the lack of input to a population of neurons, not by a change in visual information-processing strategy," Kanwisher said.

The findings are published in the March 4 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Macular degeneration, the most common form of adult blindness, affects almost 2 million people in the United States. Patients often compensate for lack of central vision by rolling their eyes upward so they can utilize the preferred retinal locus (PRL), an undamaged area under and adjacent to the affected part of the retina.

"Macular degeneration is a great opportunity to learn more about plasticity in the adult cortex," Kanwisher said.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about macular degeneration.



-- Kevin McKeever



SOURCE: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, news release, March 3, 2009

Last Updated: March 03, 2009

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