ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
CANCER
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Get to Know the Pap Test
CAREGIVING
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
Antioxidants Abound in Cereals, Popcorn, Whole-Grain Snacks
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
Smog Tougher on the Obese
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Week of Historic Senate Hearings on Integrative Medicine May Open New Doors
Swine Flu May Have Infected More Than 100,000 Americans
Study Supports Swine Flu's Pandemic Potential
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness

THURSDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- A gene that plays a major role in two forms of childhood blindness has been identified by an international team of researchers.

The discovery of the link between the retinal gene SPATA7 and Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) and retinitis pigmentosa is important because it pinpoints a new retinal metabolic disease pathway that might be crucial for many patients, according to the researchers. The finding could help lead to gene-based treatments, they say.

Previous research identified 14 genes involved in LCA, but SPATA7 is the first gene with a mutation that disrupts the protein transport between two important compartments of the cell -- the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. Because all proteins in every cell have to pass through this transport system, a mutation in SPATA7 might affect many aspects of vision.

The study was published March 5 in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

"Until now, we were not aware that this cellular mechanism played a role in LCA or any other eye disease," the research team leader, Dr. Robert Koenekoop, director of pediatric ophthalmology and the McGill Ocular Genetics Laboratory at the Montreal Children's Hospital of McGill University Health Centre, said in a hospital news release.

"This is a very important step that opens up a number of new research avenues, particularly in our understanding of the specific cellular processes involved in blindness," Koenekoop said. "This finding also increases the number of potential therapeutic targets and, therefore, the chances of finding a treatment."

Sharon Colle, president and chief executive of The Foundation Fighting Blindness, said in the news release that "this is an incredible discovery that gives great hope to LCA patients and their families, that gene based therapies can and will be developed to restore sight." The foundation funded the research.

More information

The Foundation Fighting Blindness has more about LCA.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: McGill University Health Centre, news release, March 5, 2009

Last Updated: March 05, 2009

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