Scientists develop ‘pellet’ that can be injected into a patient’s eye to prevent cataracts forming – and could even reverse existing traces 

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Scientists have developed a ‘pellet’ implant that is injected into the eye to prevent cataracts from forming – and may even reverse the development of existing cataracts without surgery.

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The implant, thought to work by reducing calcium levels in the eye, is being tested in a clinical trial first.

Around 350,000 cataract operations are performed each year in the UK, and it is estimated that one in three people aged 65 years has cataracts in one or both eyes.

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Cataracts are cloudy patches on the lens in the eye that cause blurred vision and, if left untreated, eventually lead to blindness.

Most cataracts develop as a result of age-related changes in the lens, particularly oxidative stress. It occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals (the unstable atoms that damage cells) and antioxidants (which keep free radicals under control).

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Cells in the body produce both, although factors such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and exposure to chemicals can accelerate the production of free radicals.

Scientists have developed a ‘pellet’ implant that is injected into the eye to prevent cataract formation – and may even reverse the development of existing cataracts without surgery (stock image)

As we age, fewer antioxidants are produced, resulting in oxidative stress, which leads to tissue damage (the proteins and fibers in the lens begin to break down), and a build-up of calcium in the lens.

Cataracts can also be linked to conditions such as diabetes and medications, including long-term use of steroids.

The cloudy lens can be replaced in a 30-minute operation under local anaesthetic – the surgeon makes a small cut in the eye to remove the lens and replace it with a plastic one.

The implant treatment, NPI-002, from US-based Nacuity Pharmaceuticals, may mean this type of surgery is no longer needed.

The implant is loaded with antioxidants and is injected into a vitreous — the gel-like fluid between the lens and the retina (the light-sensitive area in the eye).

The implant slowly releases its contents into the vitreous, which carries them to the lens where it acts on the cataract. The solution contains N-acetylcysteine ​​amide (NACA), an effective antioxidant.

Around 350,000 cataract operations are performed each year in the UK, and it is estimated that one in three people aged 65 years has cataracts in one or both eyes (stock image)

Around 350,000 cataract operations are performed each year in the UK, and it is estimated that one in three people aged 65 years has cataracts in one or both eyes (stock image)

An animal study by ophthalmologists at the University of Washington and other centers in the US, reported in the journal BMC Ophthalmology in 2018, found implants prevented and reduced the severity of cataracts.

This led to an increase in protective antioxidants and a 2.5-fold decrease in calcium levels compared to a control group.

The first human trial in the US will begin soon and will involve 30 glaucoma patients 65 years of age and older.

Gwyn Williams, a consultant ophthalmologist at Swansea’s Singleton Hospital, said: ‘It’s a very interesting idea and I look forward to seeing the results.

‘Cataracts are multifactorial and I doubt whether this one approach will be effective on its own, although this remains to be seen.’

Oily fish may prevent deafness but only if you’re a woman

Scientists at the University of Madrid in Spain say that eating oily fish may reduce hearing in women but does not help men.

The team analyzed the diets of 105,000 men and women and found that women who ate the most oily fish, which are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), had a 31 percent lower risk of hearing problems, according to the European Journal of Nutrition report.

Researchers believe this is due to PUFAs reducing chronic inflammation, which is believed to play a role in hearing loss.

More research is planned on why this did not matter for men.

A COVID vaccine in pill form is being tested in a small trial in Israel. The pill has a barrier coating that allows the vaccine to reach the bloodstream through the intestine to keep it from breaking down in the digestive tract. The trial of the Oravax pill, developed by Oramed, involved 24 volunteers, none of whom have had a second vaccine.

simple steps

Simple changes to your daily routine can boost your health. This week: Socialize more

According to researchers from Pennsylvania State University in the US, chatting with many different people every day can improve your memory and reduce your risk of diseases like dementia.

They asked 312 older adults to track the number, quality and proximity of their daily social interactions for 16 days and to complete a memory-based test on mobile phones.

Those who had more daily social interactions had better memory and responded faster in tests.

Writing in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers suggested that close relationships may indicate that one has a higher level of emotional support, which prevents stress (a risk factor for memory decline).

Increased social interaction may also mean that they are participating in other activities, such as exercise.

According to researchers from Pennsylvania State University in the US, chatting with many different people every day can improve your memory and reduce your risk of diseases like dementia.

According to researchers from Pennsylvania State University in the US, chatting with many different people every day can improve your memory and reduce your risk of diseases like dementia.

may the light shine Help with memory loss?

Glasses that provide flashes of light to the brain may help Alzheimer’s patients — or that’s what a US trial hopes to confirm.

Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will test the device, which flashes light 40 times per second, to see if it can help with symptoms of brain disease, including daytime sleepiness and agitation. In studies on rats, light increased gamma brain wave activity, which is known to be involved in learning and memory, and thought to decrease in people with Alzheimer’s.

In the study, patients with early signs of the disease would use either a light-delivery system or a different type of light (a lamp, for example).

eat more

Dark chocolate can make exercise easier in middle age. In a study by Liverpool Hope University, 17 sedentary adults…

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