ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
CANCER
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Maximize Your Run
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
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Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem

FRIDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Three people with a rare, incurable form of hereditary blindness regained some sight after receiving experimental gene therapy, a new report says.

The patients, all in their early 20s, have Leber congenital amaurosis type 2 (LCA2), a disease in which photoreceptor cells cannot respond to light, because a gene called RPE65 does not properly produce a protein necessary for healthy vision.

In the study, published online in Human Gene Therapy, researchers at the University of Florida used an adeno-associated virus. an apparently harmless virus that already exists in most people. to deliver RPE65 to a small area of the retina.

The subjects said the vision in their treated eyes was slightly improved in dim lighting conditions.

"The patients report seeing brighter areas and perhaps some images, but basically the message is that this treatment is fully safe," William W. Hauswirth, a professor of ophthalmology and member of the university's Powell Gene Therapy Center, said in a news release issued by the university.

No ill effects, other than routine post-surgical soreness, were reported.

"The study has partially restored vision in three young adults, and it demonstrates that gene therapy can be effective in treating human vision disease," Dr. Paul A. Sieving, director of the National Eye Institute, which supported the experiment, said in the same news release. "Many human diseases are inherited in families and result from mutations in single genes. These genetic conditions are particularly suited to potential treatment by gene therapy. This trial to treat vision loss from the condition of Leber congenital amaurosis is an important demonstration of proof of principle and shows that we are on the right track. We can now invest in further work to refine, and ultimately to expand, genetic treatment approaches."

A detailed examination of the therapy's effectiveness in the treated portion of the eye was expected to be published in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

LCA2 affects about 2,000 people in the United States and is one of several incurable forms of blindness collectively known as retinitis pigmentosa, which in turn affects about 200,000 Americans.

More information

The Prevent Blindness America has more about retinitis pigmentosa .



-- Kevin McKeever



SOURCE: University of Florida, news release, September 2008

Last Updated: Sept. 12, 2008

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