ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
CANCER
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
CAREGIVING
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Trans Fat Labeling Gets Tricky
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
Eating Free Range
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
FITNESS
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
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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