ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
CANCER
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
CAREGIVING
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
FITNESS
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Barefoot Best for Running?
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
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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