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August 14, 2014 (Dorchester Reporter) - Barbara McDonough had a scary experience; she woke up one morning and felt like a boulder was under her eye. McDonough and her husband decided to go to Mass. Eye and Ear, because their son had been before with positive results. A quick trip to Mass. Eye and Ear determined that she had an abrasion of the cornea, caused by her thumb. She was written a prescription for gel eye drops, and was back to normal within 24 hours. Positive results for the second time, 40 years later.
Should I Consider LASIK Eye Surgery?
August 11, 2014 (Boston Globe) - Dr. Roberto Pineda discusses LASIK eye surgery. Topics covered include what age works best to get the surgery, the process of LASIK surgery, and whether or not someone would be a good candidate.
Dr. Michael Sandberg and Sharon Kauerz on August 9-10 Show
August 9, 2014 (Eye Vision) - Dr. Michael Sandberg was interviewed by WYPL-FM 89.3’s Janet Sides, who hosts Eye on Vision, a talk show for those with visual impairment. On the show, he discussed his study on iodine supplements being linked with retinitis pigmentosa. Listen to his interview here.
Scientists ID New Gene Linked to Vision Loss in Infants
July 30, 2014 (MedicineNet) - A group of researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division have identified a gene that is linked to Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). LCA is a disease that causes reduced vision in infants, and is the leading cause of blindness in children. This is the first step for creating gene therapy for children with LCA. Dr. Eric Pierce, of Mass. Eye and Ear’s Ocular Genomics Institute, says "The immediate benefit of this discovery is that affected patients with mutations in this new LCA gene now know the cause of their condition.”
Iodine May Alleviate Retinitis Pigmentosa Swelling
July 29, 2014 (Ophthalmology Times) - Researchers at Mass. Eye and Ear have just published a study showing that more iodine consumption reduces the amount of retinal swelling. Retinal swelling is a problem for patients with retinitis pigmentosa who have a cystoid macular enema. The study, which included 212 Mass. Eye and Ear patients with retinitis pigmentosa, studied the iodine levels in the urine samples. They showed that a higher iodine level was linked with a lower swelling of the retina. According to lead author Michael Sandberg, Ph.D., “Additional study is required to determine whether an iodine supplement can limit or reduce the extent of CME in patients with RP.”
Boston Marathon Bombings Spur Closer Study of Ear Injuries
July 23, 2014 (Wall Street Journal) - More than a year after the Boston Marathon bombings, victims are still suffering. There is currently a study at Mass. Eye and Ear of more than 100 bombing victims who still are having hearing problems caused by ringing in the ear. Dr. Daniel Lee says that "the tinnitus specialist has been inundated with patients,” and that the patients are reporting a great deal of frustration. The researchers are tracking several different approaches, including effectiveness of steroids given early on. However, according to Dr. Lee, "One of most common questions asked by survivors has been, 'Will the ringing improve? Will my sense of hearing improve as we get further away?' The answer is that we don't know for sure what the outcome will be.”
Deaf Toddler Has Second Brainstem Device Surgery to Help Him Hear
July 22, 2014 (ABC News) - Alex Frederick was a patient at Mass. Eye and Ear several months ago, when he was the youngest person to receive an Auditory Brainstem Implant, to help him hear. Alex, now two years old, took a fall and bumped his head, causing the device to break. So he came back to Mass. Eye and Ear from Michigan to have the device replaced. “The decision was not so clear, as far as whether you implant the same ear and encounter scarring, which would make the surgery difficult, or consider doing an ABI on the other ear, which has not been implanted yet," said Dr. Daniel Lee of Mass. Eye and Ear. However, they chose to do it on the same side, because it was working well there. Alex is doing wonderful now; after four days spent in Massachusetts, Alex was home playing with his toys. Alex’s father, Phil Frederick, said that he’s “Not trying to jinx things but he is healing faster than last time.”
Iodine Reduces Retina Swelling in Patients With Retinitis Pigmentosa
July 22, 2014 (News and Global Headlines) - Researchers at Mass. Eye and Ear have discovered that iodine can actually help reduce the amount of swelling of your retina. This is a common problem for people with retinitis pigmentosa, who have a condition called cystoid macular edema. When your retina swells, you are more likely to have loss of night and side vision along with impaired central vision. Research showed that people with the most iodine consumption had the least swelling. Currently, the researchers are working on a study that proves whether or not iodine supplements will help decrease the swelling.
Study: Odds of Not Working Higher After Vision Loss
July 18, 2014 (Boston Herald) - Recently, a study was conducted showing that people with visual impairments are less likely to be employed. For example, the employment rate for women with visual impairment was 24.5 percent, for men it was 58.7 percent. In comparison, the employment rates for women and men with normal vision were 62.9 and 76.2 percent, respectively. “There’s a need for more funding for vocational programs”, says Lauren Nisbet of Mass Eye and Ear. “There’s also a liability problem that makes some employers reluctant to hire people with visual impairment.”
Lenses with a Vision
July 16, 2014 (Boston Herald) - First smartphones, then smart-glasses, and now smart contacts. Massachusetts Eye and Ear is working with a team from Boston Children’s Hospital to create contact lenses that dispense medicine into your eye automatically. As the material breaks down, medication is released into the eye. According to Dr. Joseph Ciolino of Mass. Eye and Ear, the contact will be able to deliver enough drugs for a month. The researchers are hoping to use this on glaucoma patients who do not want to have to put medication in their eye once every hour.
A Knight to Remember
July 15, 2014 (Boston Herald) - Norman Knight is an entrepreneur and founder of Knight Communications, which is a series of radio stations throughout New England. However, he is probably best known for his philanthropy, especially in Massachusetts. He founded several well-known organizations, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the 100 Club, which helps families who lost firefighters or policemen in the line of duty. At Mass. Eye and Ear, Knight was the force behind our hyperbaric chambers. These used to be thought of as just curing smoke inhalation, but we have discovered that the can cure much more. You can read more about our hyperbaric chambers here.
Boston Hospitals in Top 10 on US News Honor Roll
July 15, 2014 (Boston.com) - US News and World Report released their 2014-2015 listings for Top Hospitals, and Massachusetts Eye and Ear was ranked twice. The hospital was ranked number 4 for both ophthalmology and otolaryngology. US News studies 5,000 hospitals for factors such as collective rankings of 16 specialties, the hospital’s performance in categories such as patient survival rates and nurse staffing, and even the hospital’s reputation in the medical community. We are honored to be ranked and acknowledged for all the hard work we do at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.
Mass General Ranked Second in U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals List
July 15, 2014 (Boston Magazine) - Boston is the only city in the country with two hospitals ranked in the Top 10 on the US News Reports’ latest rankings, Mass General and Brigham and Women’s. In addition, many hospitals ranked in the Top 10 for their specialties. For example, Massachusetts Eye and Ear ranked #4 in the country for both otolaryngology and ophthalmology. These rankings were based off a number of factors and included 5,000 hospitals across the country.
Golf: R.J. Foley Battles Rare Eye Disease
July 12, 2014 (Worcester Telegram) - R.J. Foley is an amateur golfer, and has competed in many tournaments including the Worcester Amateur and the Massachusetts Amateur. However, his eyesight is not what it used to be. "I can't really see the break," he said, "and I'm not very good at judging the distance like I used to be.” Foley went to Massachusetts Eye and Ear to get it checked out. After a 12 hour appointment, it was determined that Foley has Best disease, a rare genetic disease that affects the macula, which is in the back of the eye. It is so rare that there are only four cases spotted each year. Unfortunately, there is no cure. Although he is worried that one of his three children will develop the disease, Foley remains positive about current research in gene therapy for a cure.
Researchers Regrow Human Corneas in Mice
July 7, 2014 (Kurzweil) - A team of Harvard-affiliated doctors from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the VA Boston Healthcare System recently published a study in which they created a new human cornea. This was done by using the ABCB5 molecule as a marker for the previously elusive limbal stem cells, then transplanting those cells into the eyes of mice. The mice then grew anatomically-correct, human eyeballs. According to Dr. Bruce Ksander of Mass. Eye and Ear, ““This finding will now make it much easier to restore the corneal surface. It’s a very good example of basic research moving quickly to a translational application,” which is what the team is working on now. Currently, they are working on getting the study to reach clinical trial standards by the FDA, which can take up to a year. After that, the trial can take one to two years, and then if all goes well, the antibody will be ready for use by the public.
Human Corneas Regrown to Restore Vision
July 7, 2014 (Medical News Today) - Dr. Bruce Ksander from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and his team from several Boston-area hospitals recently published a breakthrough study that is, according to Dr. Ksander, “a very good example of basic research moving quickly to a translational application”. The team has been able to recreate a human cornea from limbal stem cells. The trickiest part was finding these elusive cells; they determined that the molecule ABCB5 was a marker for them. Once they found this marker, they were able to extract the stem cells from deceased donors and transplant them to human eyes, where they were able to grow new corneas.
New Corneas Regrown from Stem Cells
July 7, 2014 (MSN New Zealand) - Limbal stem cells are the key to successful corneal transplantation. However, according to Dr. Bruce Ksander of Mass. Eye and Ear, “Limbal stem calls are very rare”, which makes successful transplants inconsistent. A team from Mass. Eye and Ear/Schepens, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s, and the VA Boston Healthcare System has found that a molecule, ABCB5, is actually a tracker for limbal stem cells. By dyeing these molecules a fluorescent color, researchers were able to find and extract limbal stem cells from deceased donors, and insert them into mice, where the first ever adult-sized corneas grew.
Check Up: Concert Junkies Could Rock Their Hearing Away
July 6, 2014 (Philly.com) - While many know that rock concerts can cause you to go deaf for a few hours, few know that just one rock concert can cause hearing damage permanently. That is the conclusion behind Dr. Charles Liberman and Dr. Sharon Kujawa’s latest research. The team from Mass. Eye and Ear exposed mice to a noise level of 100dB, which is a level much lower than that of a rock concert, for two hours. They saw that the number of electronic connections between hair cells and cochlear neurons was cut in half; these connections that help a person hear clearly can never be replaced. It will have the same sensation as looking at a blurry picture, only with your hearing. Good news though; Dr. Liberman is working on ways to spur the growth of the connection.
What Groundbreaking Research on Regrowing Human Corneal Tissue Means for the Future of Corrective Eye Surgery Procedures
July 5, 2014 (Daily Digest News) - Research being done at Massachusetts Eye and Ear is always useful, and it really shows in this new study by a collaboration of doctors from across Boston. A team from Mass. Eye and Ear/Schepens, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Children’s Hospital and the VA Boston Healthcare System have found a way to create a new cornea. By using the ABCB5 molecule, researchers were able to track the elusive limbal stem cells of the eye, and implant them into mice to create new human corneas. “This finding will now make it much easier to restore the corneal surface. It’s a very good example of basic research moving quickly to a translational application,” said Dr. Bruce Ksander of Mass. Eye and Ear. This will help people in the future who have experience corneal blindness, which is the most common type. Currently, researchers are working with the FDA to create a clinical trial.
Re-growing Stem Cells
July 3, 2014 (Canada AM) - Dr. Markus Frank speaks with Canada AM program about the background and future of creating a new cornea, and the implications it has on people with blindness.
New Technique Creates Corneas in Mice Using Adult Human Stem Cells
July 3, 2014 (TIME Magazine) - Limbal stem cells are crucial for eyesight; they help regenerate the cornea every few weeks. However, according to Dr. Bruce Ksander of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, ““Limbal stem cells are very rare, and successful transplants are dependent on these rare cells”. By finding them in donor eyes, corneal blindness can be restored. Researchers at Mass. Eye and Ear/Schepens, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the VA Boston Healthcare system discovered a tracker molecule, ABCB5, which can detect the elusive stem cells. They added fluorescent dye to the ABCB5 molecules, tracked them to the limbal stem cells, extracted these stem cells and implanted them into the eyes of mice, where they reproduced the first anatomically correct cornea in about 13 months. Researchers are very optimistic that this discovery will be able to restore sight in the blind, and are working on a clinical trial from the FDA.
Researchers Discover a Way to Restore Corneal Surface
July 3, 2014 (News-Medical) - A Harvard-affiliated collaboration of researchers from Mass. Eye and Ear/Schepens, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the VA Boston Healthcare System has regrown the first human corneal tissue. Corneal tissue loss is the leading cause of blindness, and is impossible to cure. Stem cells in the limbus of the eye are the key to reproducing the cornea, but they shed and reproduce so quickly that they are hard to track. However, the researchers have discovered a molecule, ABCB5, which is a marker that identifies the stem cells. By tracking and extracting the cells from deceased donor eyes, they injected the stem cells into mice, which were able to reproduce new human sized corneal tissue. This will easily translate into humans, as the researchers are getting approval from the FDA for a clinical trial.
Scientists Use Stem Cells to Grow Human Corneas in Mice
July 2, 2014 (US News and World Report) - Scientists have found a new way to regenerate corneal tissue, which can help save people from the leading cause of blindness. A team from Mass. Eye and Ear/Schepens, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Boston VA Healthcare System used the molecule ABCB5 as a marker for the limbal stem cells, which are usually hard to find. "Limbal stem cells are very rare, and successful transplants are dependent on these rare cells," says study co-author Bruce Ksander of Mass. Eye and Ear. Once the stem cells were found, the researchers inserted them into mice, which grew full-sized human corneas. The researchers of this study are working with the FDA to make this a clinical trial.
Cornea Tissue Regrown Using Tissue Made from Adult-Derived Human Stem Cells
July 2, 2014 (Medical Daily) - Corneal blindness is the leading cause of blindness today. Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s, and VA Boston Healthcare System have found a way to reverse corneal blindness. They have found a way to create a new cornea. This groundbreaking procedure comes from the ABCB5 molecule, which is a tracker for limbal stem cells. These cells are the key to regrowth of corneas. However, according to Dr. Bruce Ksander of Mass. Eye and Ear, “Limbal stem cells are very rare, and successful transplants are dependent on these rare cells". The ABCB5 molecule was dyed a fluorescent color, then they attached to the limbal stem cells. Researchers then extracted the stem cells and injected them into the eyes of mice, which were able to regrow the first human cornea in about 13 months.
Scientists Can Now Screen for Stem Cells that Enhance Corneal Regrowth
July 2, 2014 (Medical Express) - In a highly collaborative effort, researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens, Boston Children’s Center, Brigham and Women’s, and the VA Boston Healthcare System were able to create a new cornea; the first ever made. Using the discovery of the ABCB5 molecule as a tracker, they were able to locate the highly elusive limbal stem cells, which are the key to creating a new cornea every few weeks. Once they located and extracted them, the researchers injected the limbal stem cells into the eyes of mice with corneal blindness, the most common type of blindness. By 13 months, the mice had grown human-size, anatomically correct corneas. "This finding will now make it much easier to restore the corneal surface. It's a very good example of basic research moving quickly to translational application," said Bruce Ksander, PhD, an associate scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute.
Scientists use Stem Cells to Regenerate Human Corneas
July 2, 2014 (BBC) - Limbal stem cells are crucial for eyesight; they help regenerate the cornea every few weeks. By finding them and harvesting them from donor eyes, corneal blindness, which is the most common type, can be restored. However, they are very elusive, since they regenerate every few weeks. That is, until now. Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the VA Boston Healthcare System discovered a tracker molecule, ABCB5, which can detect limbal stem cells. They extracted these stem cells and implanted them into the eyes of mice, where they reproduced the first anatomically correct cornea. Researchers are very optimistic that this discovery will be able to restore sight in the blind.
Researchers Regrow Corneas Using Adult Human Stem Cells
July 2, 2014 (Fox News) - A collaboration of researchers from Mass. Eye and Ear/Schepens, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the VA Boston Healthcare System has regrown human corneal tissue. Not only is this huge advancement the first of its kind, it can potentially restore blindness in the future. Corneal tissue loss is one of the leading causes of blindness, and cannot be cured. Limbal stem cells are the ones responsible for reproducing and maintaining the cornea, but they shed and reproduce so quickly that it’s hard to track them. However, these researchers have discovered a molecule, ABCB5, which is a marker that can help identify the cells. By tracking and extracting the cells from deceased donor eyes, they were able to reproduce new corneal tissue in mice.
All Eyes on Fireworks Safety
June 30, 2014 (Newswise) - The Fourth of July is quickly approaching. This holiday brings cookouts, parties, and of course, fireworks. This holiday, Mass. Eye and Ear doctors remind us to be careful and leave the fireworks to the professionals. In 2013, eight deaths and over 11,000 injuries were linked to fireworks. In case of emergency, you can visit the Eye Trauma Center at Mass. Eye and Ear. Have a safe holiday!
North Branford Child with Facial Paralysis Tries for a 'Good Smile'
June 21, 2014 (New Haven Register) - Nicholas Grant, a seven year old from North Branford, Connecticut, will be receiving his second surgery next week to fix his congenital facial paralysis. The left side of Nicholas’ face is paralyzed, so according to the second grader, he as a “creepy smile.” Nicholas has already had one surgery, and Dr. Tessa Hadlock will be preforming the second procedure, which can take anywhere from six to eight hours. While the surgery only has an 80 percent success rate, Dr. Hadlock is willing to preform it for Nicholas. He wants to have a carefree life like any seven year old. “Like having a good time and not feeling like people are thinking about my smile,” he said.
Hearing Restored By Stem Cells
June 20, 2014 (Councel & Heal) - Spiral ganglion cells are cells in the inner ear that are essential for hearing. Unfortunately, their degeneration is irreversible, or so we thought. Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Goethe-University (Frankfurt, Germany), Justus-Liebig University (Giessen, Germany), Harvard University, and MIT have discovered that spiral ganglion cells stem cells can self-renew in the ears of mice and can regenerate into mature spiral ganglion cells. In addition, they can be molded into neurons and glial cells, which also help to develop neural structures of the inner ear to help you hear well. "These findings are particularly interesting as they show that spiral ganglion stem cells can be propagated in vitro," said BioResearch Open Access Editor Jane Taylor, PhD, from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Prolonged Screen Time Decreases Eye Tears
June 18, 2014 (Examiner) - Mucin 5AC, or MUC5AC is a protein secreted by cells in the upper eyelid which helps make up a part of the mucus layer; this keeps the eyes damp. There hasn’t been much study on MUC5AC or its effect on dry eyes. Dr. Yuichi Uchino, a Research Fellow in Ophthalmology at Schepens Eye Research Institute, published a study on the relationship between the amount of MU5AC and staring at a screen, such as your computer. The results showed that participants who looked at computer screens for an average of eight hours a day secreted about 6.8 nanograms of the protein and those who spent less than five hours a day looking at their screen secreted 9.6 nanograms. Dr. Uchino says, "To understand patients' eye strain, which is one of major symptoms of dry eye disease, it is important that ophthalmologist pay attention to MUC5AC concentration in tears.”
June 18, 2014 (Harvard Medical School News) - Dr. Daniel Polley, director of the Mass. Eye and Ear's Amelia Peabody Neural Plasticity Unit of the Eaton-Peabody Laboratories and assistant professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School, and his team have created a new “audiogame”, to help people with hearing loss. It is meant to train your brain to detect soft noises in a loud environment. This game is based off sensory foraging behavior that requires players to find a tone at a different loudness than the moderate background noise and locate an object. Both mice and adults have participated in this study, with surprising results. “To our surprise, human subjects who mastered this simple game over the course of 30 minutes of daily training for one month exhibited a generalized improvement in their ability to understand speech in noisy background conditions” said Dr. Polley. However, if someone was simply listening and not actively participating in the game, they showed little to no improvement.
Excellence in Mentoring
June 18, 2014 (Harvard Medical School News) - 18 members of the Harvard Medical School community were awarded on June 12 for their excellence in mentoring. Among these was Simmons Lessell, professor of neuro-ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. He received the William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award, recognizing his achievements not just as a professor, but as a mentor who had an impact. “My life has been enriched by working with Simmons Lessell. That’s how I know what being a mentor is,” said Dr. Joseph Rizzo of Mass Eye and Ear. “He’s caring, empathetic, devoted, a great communicator and generous of his time. … He showed by his example that hard work can be fun.”
North Branford Boy Dreams of New Smile, Needs Reconstructive Surgery
June 18, 2014 (Fox News CT) - Seven year old Nicholas Grant will be receiving his second surgery next week to fix his congenital facial paralysis. He has already had one surgery, but on Monday, Dr. Tessa Hadlock will be preforming the second procedure, which can take anywhere from six to eight hours. While the surgery only has an 80 percent success rate, Dr. Hadlock is willing to preform it for Nicholas. He wants to have a carefree life like any second grader. “Like having a good time and not feeling like people are thinking about my smile,” he said.
Oily Fish Can Help Stop Blindness When we get Older: Omega-3 Can Stop Range of Eye Conditions Caused by Damage to the Retina by Tiny Blood Vessels
June 16, 2014 (DailyMail UK) - Omega-3 has many health benefits, including preventing high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Kip Connor and his team at Massachusetts Eye and Ear have discovered that in addition to all of those benefits, omega-3 may be able to help prevent macular degeneration. The fats stopped blood vessel damage in mice that were showing symptoms of “wet” macular degeneration, which is the fastest-moving type. Although omega-3 alone may not be enough to prevent blindness, Dr. Connor says that “It is our hope that future studies will allow us to develop specific therapeutics that harness this knowledge, resulting in greater visual outcome and quality of life for patients suffering from these sight-threatening diseases.”
Big Wind is Better Than Big Oil, But Just as Bad at P.R.
June 15, 2014 (New Republic) - Wind energy is one of the more favorable forms of energy today. In fact, 70 percent of Americans are in favor of it. However, like all forms of energy, it comes at a price. Many people who live near wind turbines have been complaining of insomnia, vertigo, headaches and disorientation. Nancy Shea, who lives near a wind farm in northwestern Massachusetts, says that “It’s hard to describe sensation; you just want to crawl out of your skin”. These are symptoms of Wind Turbine Syndrome, which is quite controversial. The American Wind Energy Association, or AWEA, claims that is it psychological. But some otologists, such as Massachusetts Eye and Ear’s Dr. Steven Rauch, believe that it is more physical than psychological: “The patients deserve the benefit of the doubt,” Dr. Rauch says. “It’s clear from the documents that come out of the industry that they’re trying very hard to suppress the notion of WTS and they’ve done it in a way that [involves] a lot of blaming the victim.”
LIVESTRONG Foundation Honors hippomsg's Impact on Cancer Patients
June 12, 2014 (Broadway World) - Hippomsg was created in 2012 by Dr. Alex Grilli of Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Dr. Rahul Shah of Children’s National Medical Center. This free, encrypted, HIPAA-approved text messaging device can connect doctors throughout the country quickly and conveniently. Grilli and Shah were recently made semi-finalists for the LIVESTRONG Big C competition, which awards innovators whose devices will help ease the burden on cancer patients. “When faced with a cancer diagnosis, patients and their families often have to manage the coordination and communication among a variety of specialists. We want to lighten their load” said Dr. Shah. The 168 entries will proceed through several more rounds, narrowing down to a finalist on September 29.
Game Technology Teaches Mice and Men to Hear Better in Noisy Environments
June 10, 2014 (ECNMag) - There is a new training technique that will help the hearing impaired train their brain, called an “audiogame”. This game is based off sensory foraging behavior that requires players to find a tone at a different loudness than the moderate background noise and locate an object. Both mice and adults have participated in this study, with surprising results. According to Daniel Polley, Ph.D., director of the Mass. Eye and Ear's Amelia Peabody Neural Plasticity Unit of the Eaton-Peabody Laboratories and assistant professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School, “To our surprise, human subjects who mastered this simple game over the course of 30 minutes of daily training for one month exhibited a generalized improvement in their ability to understand speech in noisy background conditions.” However, if someone was simply listening and not actively participating in the game, they showed little to no improvement.
Asthma Misdiagnosis Sidelines Many Young Athletes
June 5, 2014 (CBS Boston) - Beth Radcliffe is a three-sport athlete, and sophomore in high school. So when she couldn’t breathe during practices, she knew something was wrong. First the doctors diagnosed her with sports-induced asthma, then full-blown asthma. She was using an inhaler, but nothing helped. So, she saw Cathie Ballif, a speech therapist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, who diagnosed Beth with PVFM, or Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion. “It is the inappropriate closure of the vocal folds while you’re breathing in,” which makes it hard to breathe, according to Dr. Ballif. By learning speech therapy and breathing techniques, Beth is now able to control her breathing and stay in the game.
Dr. Janine Saldanha: Champion of Community Service
June 1st, 2014 (India New England) - Dr. Janine Saldanha, an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, is a finalist for India New England’s Outstanding Woman of the Year. As a chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society Immigrant Medical Graduate Committee, she started a program that helps immigrant resident doctors find a mentor to adjust to the medical program in this country. She also participates in a lot of community service, including a medical mission to Bolivia and Friends of the Lynnfield Library. She has had her medical degree for 35 years, and says that “Anesthesiologists are said to be the internists of the operating room.” Her motto to live by is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", and carries that through her professional and personal life.
Medical and Surgical Care for Domestic Violence Survivors
May 31, 2014 (48 Hours) - Melissa Dohme was featured in the 48 Hours Story, “Live to Tell: One Last Hug”. This feature detailed her story with an abusive ex-boyfriend who tried to murder her. Dohme needed extensive surgery and has undergone 10 reconstructive procedures since. Thanks to between Mass. Eye and Ear’s Facial and Cosmetic Surgery Center and the Boston-based Regaining One’s Self Esteem (R.O.S.E.) Fund, all of her surgeries and medical care have been paid for. Currently, Mass. Eye and Ear is sending Dohme three boxes of prescription scar tape -- each costing $600 - at no cost to her. The tape will take all the redness out of her scars leaving them much closer to skin tone. For more information about domestic violence and resources, please visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline, or any links at the bottom of the story.
Google Glass May Cause Eye Discomfort
May 29, 2014 (Optometry Times) - As doctors are beginning to fit prescriptions onto Google Glass, Schepens Eye Research Institute's Eli Peli, OD, MSc, has a warning for new users: “A slight discomfort around eyes may be experienced by a small number of users when starting using Glass”. In order to wear the device and not crash into anything while walking, the display is placed in the upper right corner, which is the most uncomfortable spot. Dr. Peli, who consulted with Google on Glass, says that this discomfort will go away as you adjust to the technology, and to use short, brief interactions, as the device was intended.
1-year-old Born Deaf Hears for the First Time
May 27, 2014 (Today Show) - Elise Bradshaw is the youngest person ever to receive an auditory brain stem cell implant. Dr. Daniel Lee of Massachusetts Eye and Ear gave 1 year old Elise her implant, which is only approved by the FDA for teenagers and adults. Her story was featured on the Today Show.
War Wounds: Hearing Loss Tracks Gulf War Vets
May 25, 2014 (MedPage Today) - Explosions and other loud noises on the battlefield are common. When these situations become life-threatening, capability to hear is not a priority. However, Dr. Charles Liberman of Massachusetts Eye and Ear says that “Threshold recovery does not mean hearing recovery. Your thresholds can go back to normal, but probably every time this happens, you're losing a few neurons” which are vital to send signals from the ear to the brain. These cannot be recovered. However, with mandatory auditory screening and post-discharge treatment, the Department of Defense is looking for ways to protect the hearing of men and women serving.
'Glasses Off' App Claims to Retrain Brain to See Better
May 23, 2014 (CBS Boston) - In a world of smartphone apps, there is one now that promises to “free yourself from reading glasses”. 'Glasses Off' is a new game that retrains your brain to interpret what your eye is saying as you lose your vision. The game is a series of vision tests, and claims that 90 percent of users have experienced success. Dr. Peter Bex of Massachusetts Eye and Ear tried the app; he got pretty good at it, but still says that “You may still need reading glasses in order to be able to read or watch TV.” While the app is free on iPhone and iPad for now, it will soon cost $60 to purchase.
Slicing the Zebrafish Eyes
May 22, 2014 (Cape Cod Times) - The Lions from the Mid-Cape in Massachusetts visited Massachusetts Eye and Ear and took a tour of the research tha is being done. To date, the Lions’ have given $5.5 million to support research on hereditary blindness and eye disease. Dr. Qin Liu showed the group exactly how their money was being used. Dr. Liu is researching Inherited Retinal Disease (IRD), by sequencing genomes to find the irregularity. By finding the irregularities, researchers can find the cause and create gene therapy in attempt to reverse the problem. The Lions were shown the equipment used to produce the data, which can cost from $500 to $5000 to run. Then they were shown the tissue labs, where zebrafish yolks are injected with molecules blocking genes of interest and luminescent dyes to track the progress. The Lions were shown that their “Pennies for Sight” campaign truly goes a long way.
Infant Youngest in U.S. to Receive Brain Stem Implant at Boston Hospital
May 19, 2014 (CBS Boston) - Auditory brain stem implants have been approved by the FDA for use in teenagers and adults. However, thanks to Massachusetts Eye and Ear, 1 year old Elise Bradshaw received the implant, and was able to hear her mother for the first time. Dr. Daniel Lee and his team are conducting a pediatric clinical trial for the implants, and Elise was the youngest person ever to receive one. She is able to hear sounds, but her brain will process the signals differently than normal, so she will have to learn to adjust. The clinical trial will continue, as two more pediatric brain stem implants are scheduled at Mass. Eye and Ear within the next few months.
Neural-Monitored Thyroidectomy Preserves Professional Singers' Voices
May 17, 2014 (Healio) - New research by Massachusetts Eye and Ear’s Dr. Gregory Randolph allows singers to have a full recovery after a thyroidectomy. By electronically stimulating the laryngeal nerve during surgery, Dr. Randolph and his team were able to ensure that the nerve was still connected and it gave the doctors had a map of the vocal cord. Dr. Randolph said that “The nerve is not always so evident. ... With neural stimulation, you can determine exactly where that nerve is, so it adds to the visual information.” 100 percent of the 30 patients who received the surgery were able to return to singing in an average of 2.26 months. According to Dr. Randolph, the most common reasons for delay in performance were pitch control and modulation, strength, high range and fatigue. Dr. Randolph advises that “gentle management of all the muscles [during recovery] we think are important.”
Noise-induced 'Hidden Hearing Loss' Mechanism Discovered
May 13, 2014 (Medical Xpress) - For years, it has been thought that hearing loss, whether through age or loud noises, was caused by loss of hair cells. A recent discovery by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers discovered that this may not be the only problem. Dr. Charles Liberman and Dr. Sharon Kujawa found out that each time nerve fibers are exposed to loud noises, they deteriorate. There is no longer a connection between nerve fibers and the hair cells that help with hearing. This connection can never be regained. "All of our federal noise exposure guidelines are based on the assumption that noise-exposures causing only transient threshold elevation are benign. That assumption is almost certainly unwarranted," Liberman said. Liberman is currently working with Dr. Gabriel Corfas of Mass. Eye and Ear on a therapy to reverse this damage.
Meet Ora, a Family-Owned Firm That's Helped Bring 37 Eye Treatments to the Market
May 12, 2014 (Boston Business Journal) - Family-owned business and biotechnology are not words that are commonly heard together, until now. Ora Inc. is an Andover, Massachusetts-based company that does research on new ophthalmology drugs and devices and invests in early-stage companies. It was started in the 1970s by Mark Abelson, who was a fellow at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. His son, Stuart Abelson, now owns the company, which has quadrupled in size since 2007.
Autologous Serum Tears Shown to Improve Corneal Pain
May 7, 2014 (Healio.com) - A study was done at Massachusetts Eye and Ear to treat patients with chronic pain from corneal neuropathy. Shruti Aggarwal, MD, and colleagues treated 16 patients eight times a day with 20% autologous serum tears. The patients reported decreased pain, and the studies showed that the total nerve number and density, the main nerve number and density and the nerve branch number and density all improved. The authors of the study said: “Directing therapeutic strategies toward nerve regeneration may help alleviate symptoms.”
Glaucoma Risk Underestimated by Opthamologists, Trainees
May 7, 2014 (Medscape) - A study was conducted showing that Ophthalmology trainees and comprehensive ophthalmologists were twice as likely to not diagnose glaucoma. The study, Glaucomatous Optic Neuropathy Evaluation, nicknamed GONE, was an online evaluation that took 42 photographs that showed various ranges of glaucoma symptoms. The trainees, comprehensive ophthalmologists and glaucoma subspecialists were instructed to rate the likelihood of the glaucoma, based on what they saw in the pictures. Out of the 197 participants, ophthalmology trainees underestimated glaucoma likelihood in a mean of 22.1% and comprehensive ophthalmologists underestimated the likelihood in a mean of 23.8%. Dr. Brian Song of Massachusetts Eye and Ear said that “"The take-home message is we still have a long way to go as far as diagnosing glaucoma accurately. The study points out that even among glaucoma specialists, there can sometimes be a significant variability in terms of their interpretation of what someone's optic nerve looks like and what their glaucoma risk is as a result of that evaluation.”
Parent's Digital Cameras May Be a Helpful New Tool in Detection of Pediatric Eye Cancer
May 7, 2014 (MedCity News) - In 2008, Bryan Shaw and his wife became parents to their first child, Noah. Like many new parents, they took a lot of pictures of Noah. However, Noah’s eyes looked different in the pictures; there was a white glow coming from his pupils. So, the Shaw’s took 4-month old Noah to Massachusetts Eye and Ear, where it was determined that he has retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer. He had to have his right eye removed. Shaw wanted to have some answers. Could this have been detected earlier? In collaboration with computer science colleagues, oncologists and Dr. Shizuo Mukai, who treated Noah at the Mass. Eye and Ear, Shaw was able to create a program that will detect retinoblastoma in children earlier. While a prototype is available online, it needs to undergo more testing to be ready for commercial use. To hear the NPR podcast, click here.
Mass. Eye and Ear Helps Kids Breathe Easier
May 5, 2014 (Beacon Hill Times) - Massachusetts Eye and Ear has new training tools for parents; dolls. These dolls are used to teach parents of children with airway problems how to care for their infants. Jack Gurnon, owner of Charles Street Supply in Beacon Hill tweaked these dolls by adding holes to insert breathing and feeding tubes. The dolls are provided by generous donations to Mass. Eye and Ear’s Curing Kids Fund. The funds for this program are raised at the Sense-ation gala, which will take place October 14 this year.
Superbug: An Epidemic Spreads
May/June 2014 (Harvard Magazine) - The first antibiotic, penicillin, was created in the 1930s by Alexander Fleming. Since then, antibiotics have grown to include all types of bacteria, including Methicillin to treat MRSA. Unfortunately, every time there is a new strain of a virus, a new antibiotic needs to be created. Fortunately, researchers throughout Boston are working to prevent that. Michael Gilmore, professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Mass. Eye and Ear, organized Harvard’s Program on Antibiotic Resistance. Gilmore and his team are developing innovative approaches to finding new drugs. “We explore new drug targets that are higher risk than those a company would work on,” explains Suzanne Walker, one of Gilmore’s collaborators and professor of microbiology and immunobiology at Harvard Medical School.
In An Instant, hippomsg Connects Medical Providers
April 29, 2014 (BusinessWire.com) - Dr. Alex Grilli of Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Dr. Rahul Shah of Children’s National Medical Center have created a text-messaging application for doctors to use in place of their pagers. Currently, over 3,000 medical institutions are using hippomsg, the free and encrypted application. Although other institutions have tried to create something like hippomsg internally, this is the first that allows you to communicate with other doctors. “Gone are the days when a colleague has to pluck through an interminable menu to leave a message for another doctor. Finding another professional—at any practice in the country—can now be as simple as using hippomsg” says Dr. Grilli. An accomplished HIPAA expert helped to ensure that all protocols were followed and that this application is truly secure. Messages are all encrypted, and self-destruct as soon as they are read. This makes it more secure to send patient information such as a patient’s identity and medical history, or even reports from a mammogram or MRI. The best feature is that hippomsg is free. According to Dr. Shah, “The problem is the cost. How can a hospital system spend six-figures on a solution tailored just for its staff, when many are losing money? They can't and don't, but patients need their healthcare providers to communicate. With hippomsg, they can and do.”
Tech Advances Improving Treatment for Hearing Loss
April 29, 2014 (Sun Sentinal) - By age 75, half of the people around you have trouble hearing, but only 25 percent of the people who wear a hearing aid need them. Maybe it’s the high cost (between $1,000 and $6,000), or that they are hard to use (many of the smaller ones do not have a volume control). However, Dr. Chris Halpin from Massachusetts Eye and Ear’s Department of Audiology says that "If you're having trouble hearing people talking and you're really having to work hard at it, you should get an evaluation to see why that is, and whether you need a hearing aid.” Start by visiting an otolaryngologist, which is a specialist in ear, nose, and throat problems. They will refer you to an audiologist, who will give you a hearing test. Finally, your audiologist will help you decide on a hearing aid that’s right for you. You do not need the most expensive or fanciest model; you just need to be able to hear without any discomfort. Remember to wear it, let your family and friends know about it, and have it checked out by an audiologist if there are any problems.
Sometimes She Struggles to Balance. But She'll Run 26 Miles
April 20, 2014 (Lowell Sun) - Collette Joliffe suffers from Ménière's disease, which causes ringing in the ears, recurring dizziness, and loss of balance. In spite of all that, she will be running in the Boston Marathon this year. When she was diagnosed, she received medicine from Mass. Eye and Ear, over a two month period. Although grateful to have her life back, Joliffe was wondering when the ringing in her ear would stop. "I commented to the doctor that I am going to be so glad when the ringing stops. And he answered me that the ringing won't stop." The ringing sensation that you hear is actually a function of the brain. So, Joliffe turned to neurosurgeon Dr. Michael McKenna. She now describes him as "my savior, and the only reason that I am doing as well as I am." McKenna says that he is not surprised Joliffe is running: “Collette is an athlete, a former bodybuilder, so she knows what it is to train for something and what's required in overcoming feelings of discomfort."
Keeping Score: Inner Strength
April 18, 2014 (The Greenfield Recorder) - Ben Simanski shows how resilient and close-knit people from Massachusetts are. The Greenfield native was diagnosed at Massachusetts Eye and Ear last year with Stargardt’s disease, a form of macular degeneration. Yet, he ran the Boston Marathon for Team Eye and Ear, and passed the finish line shortly before 2:30 p.m. Then, the twin bombs went off. “The good part is our group was so tight, we instantaneously texted each other to make sure everyone was OK.” That closeness id what got Simanski to run again this year: "When I found myself in a little trouble, there were people looking out for me and that's nice to know." Last year, Team Eye and Ear raised $323,973 of which Simanski had tallied nearly $14,985, about $3,500 over the average.
Faces of Boston: Melanie Powers
April 18, 2014 (Competitor) - Melanie Powers is using this Boston Marathon to finish what she started. Powers ran in last year’s Boston Marathon, but was stopped at mile 25 because of the bombs. She ran for Team Eye and Ear in 2013, and is continuing that dedication this year. She is no stranger to adversity; with the loss of her father and the surviving cancer twice, Powers says that the messages from last year’s Marathon helped her run this year: “Strength, perseverance, resilience, passion — the same qualities that helped get me through life’s challenges have pushed me to run.”
26.2 Miles of Disease-ending Desire
April 18, 2014 (Newburyport News) - Julie Odgen is new to running marathons, but she figured this would be the year to run the Boston Marathon. Her desire to raise money for macular degeneration was stronger than ever. “It’s a degenerative eye disease that is the leading cause for blindness in the elderly,” Ogden said. “But in my family it has affected us earlier.” She has watched her two grandmothers, her aunt and her mother become legally blind by the age of 70. Although she gets her eyes checked, she is still nervous. Ogden decided to run for Mass. Eye and Ear because of all the volunteer work she has done at Schepens to find a cure for macular degeneration. The fundraising goal to meet was $10,000; Ogden exceeded that goal and raised $14,475.
Meet Winchester's Marathon Runners
April 18, 2014 (Winchester Star) - The front page of the Winchester Star featured runners from Team Eye and Ear, Lisa and Russ Fleming. The couple ran together last year, and had about 2 miles left to run when the bomb went off. They thought people were exaggerating as they heard rumors of the bomb. Once they saw ambulances, they knew something was wrong. Lisa is excited for this year’s Marathon however: "Everyone wants to run it this year to show you can’t take Boston down".
Local Artists Celebrate Power of Voice
April 17, 2014 (Boston.com) - On April 16, Mass. Eye and Ear held its World Voice Week event, Power of the Voice. This event was attended by more than 180 people, and featured performances by singer Virgil Gibson from The Rivingtons, opera singer Barbara Quintiliani (Verdi soprano), musician Chad Stokes, WEEI Sports Radio host Gerry Callahan and comedian Norm Crosby. To see pictures from the event, click here.
A Year Since Marathon Attacks, Many of Wounded Struggle
April 15, 2014 (Boston Globe) - Although doctors, nurses, and specialists have worked tirelessly over the past year to fix injuries and heal wounds, some things take a lot longer to heal. From amputees to PTSD and anxiety, survivors still have a long way to go. For example, 16 year old David Yepez is one of the forty survivors still at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Yepez has tinnitus, or ringing in his ears. “It’s pretty much going to be there forever,” he said his doctor told him, “and it may get gradually worse as I age.” Dr. Alicia Quesnel, an ear specialist at Mass Eye and Ear, is following 93 patients as part of a study on blast-related hearing loss, and says that this is not uncommon, and unfortunately there is no cure.
Could just ONE Concert, Club Night or Football Game Damage your Hearing?
April 15, 2014 (DailyMailUK) - It has been said that in order to lose your hearing, it takes exposure to loud noises over a long period of time. Neuroscientists Dr. Charles Liberman and Dr. Sharon Kujawa have found that every exposure to loud noises can cause irreparable damage. Every time your nerve fibers are affected by loud noises, the ends of the fibers weaken, causing a disconnection, and not allowing signals to get to the brain. While this effect starts off as small and unnoticeable, it is irreversible damage. Dr. Liberman believes that these findings can lead to policy changes to protect people’s hearing.
One Year, One City
April 15, 2014 (Boston Globe) - On April 15, 2013, their lives intersected. One year later, these survivors, caregivers, volunteers, and first responders came together at the finish line to tell their stories. Massachusetts Eye and Ear’s Dr. Yoshihiro Yonekawa was among those impacted. (Center left)
Medical Research Rises from Tragedy at Finish Line
April 15, 2014 (Boston.com) - Dr. Aaron Remenschneider and colleagues at Mass. Eye and Ear have found a way to turn last year’s Marathon tragedy into something positive. Currently, Remenschneider, Dr. Daniel Lee and Dr. Alicia Quesnel are conducting a three-year study on ear-related studies from civilian blasts. “We know some information as a result of how patients fare in blast injuries from our military colleagues, but there isn’t a whole lot dealing with civilian-related blast injury,” said Dr. Remenschneider. The three doctors will be pooling data from Boston-area hospitals, and doing current studies on 93 participants who volunteered. The results from this study will help doctors understand how to treat hearing problems from blasts such as the Marathon last year, and will help Mass. Eye and Ear move forward and continue to heal.
Rebecca from Los Alamos Running Boston Marathon to Raise Funds for Her Hospital
April 14, 2014 (Los Alamos Daily Post) - Rebecca Hammon, a resident at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, will be running the Boston Marathon this year for Team Eye and Ear. She knew from her first day on her ENT rotation that she wanted to specialize and eventually become an ENT surgeon. “I am thrilled about my chance to run the 2014 Boston Marathon as a member of Team Eye and Ear, and I have chosen to dedicate my fundraising specifically to head and neck cancer research,” Hammon said.
Finding Inspiration Along the Route of One Run for Boston
April 12, 2014 (Hartford Courant) - The One Run for Boston is a fundraising event raising money for One Fund Boston. It is a relay run that goes from Los Angeles to Boston, and Rachael McGhee was part of it. A runner from Somerset, this is the second year she has run. Last year, she ran at 3:20 a.m., from Thompson, Connecticut to Douglas, Massachusetts. This year, McGhee will be participating in the Boston Marathon, running for Massachusetts Eye and Ear.
Bombings Won't Stop Billerica Businessman From Running Again
April 12, 2014 (Wicked Local: Billerica) - Dick Svrluga will be a 30-time marathon runner this year. During last year’s marathon, he passed the finish line just before the bomb went off. "Something in my head was pushing me to run faster this race” he said. “If I ran the time that I had expected, I would have been much closer to the explosion." For the fourth year in a row, Svrluga will be running for Team Eye and Ear. He previously worked at a company that made the first excimer laser to correct vision. One of these lasers is now at Mass. Eye and Ear. "We have so many great institutions in the area. Mass. Eye and Ear is a premiere place and it is such an honor to be affiliated with it," he said.
Local Runners Undeterred by Memories of Bombing
April 12, 2014 (Indiana Gazette) - This Boston Marathon will be a first for Scott Bowman, although he distinctly remembers last year's tragedy. Bowman was standing about 10 yards from the first bomb, waiting for his wife and her running partner to cross the finish line. The bomb went off, and he was enveloped in silence. He went to nearby Massachusetts Eye and Ear, where doctors prescribed him steroids to completely restore his hearing. Bowman, his wife Aileen, and another couple, John and Cathy Swauger, will be returning to Boston this year to run together. Bowman says: “I can’t imagine not running in Boston. You’ve got to feel very fortunate to run the Boston Marathon, and it’s such a thrill to be a part of the most prestigious marathon in the world.”
Kingston, Plymouth Residents to Run Together for One Fund and Mass Eye and Ear
April 11, 2014 (Kingston Reporter) - On April 13, 2013 at 2:49 p.m., Michael Rogers was working at Daisy Buchanan’s on Newbury Street. When the first bomb went off, he knew what happened immediately, and ran. Unfortunately, he ran right toward the second bomb, which blasted a bone out of his ear drum. The doctors at Massachusetts Eye and Ear were able to restore his hearing back 100 percent. “They reached out above and beyond, as far as helping me out,” Rogers said of Mass. Eye and Ear and the One Fund. “I can’t thank them enough.” Rogers and friend Nancy Nicklas will run the 2014 Boston Marathon to raise money for Team Eye and Ear and the One Fund, and tribute of Boston firefighters and police officers and the Massachusetts State Police.
GSSW Alumna Runs for Team Eye and Ear in 2014 Boston Marathon
April 10, 2014 (Boston College Chronicle) -The Remenschneider’s remember, like many residents of Boston, where they were last year when they heard about the Marathon Tragedy; Emily was at work in Waltham, and husband Aaron was on-call at Mass. Eye and Ear. “In the early afternoon, I received a message from my cousin in New York asking about explosions at the marathon,” Emily said. “I immediately tried to see what information I could find, but everything was so unclear.” Aaron worked with his colleagues through the night, evaluating and treating patients with ear pain, hearing loss, and other head and neck injuries from the blast. Currently, they are working on research about how to best treat people with hearing loss from similar explosions. The couple is running this year for Team Eye and Ear to support research for hearing loss.
Higher Total Folate Intake May be Associated with Lower Risk of Exfoliation Glaucoma
April 3, 2014 (ScienceDaily) - Exfoliation Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and visual impairment. It is caused by exfoliation syndrome, a condition in which white clumps of material form in the eye. This syndrome may be caused by higher homocysteine. Homocysteine can be reduced by taking vitamins B12, B6, and folate. A prospective study conducted by researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health tested the effect of these three vitamins on Exfoliation Glaucoma directly. Their results showed the vitamins B6 and B12 do not have an effect on exfoliation glaucoma directly; but higher folate intake, especially from supplements, does reduce the risk.
Swept-Source OCT and Glaucoma
April, 2014 (Eye World) - At Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Pittsburg, there is new technology being tested and developed to help researchers and doctors see more in-depth reading of the eye. At Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Dr. Lucy Q. Shen is using the swept-source OCT on glaucoma patients, which she says “can theoretically render those deep optic nerve structures in better resolution without much shadowing artifacts.” The team has had some success, but the results are not consistent so far. However, trying to find these results is like finding a needle in a haystack. The goal of the study is to provide answers on who may be more vulnerable to glaucoma based on the optic nerve head changes.
Scientists Visualize New Treatments for Retinal Blindess
March 26, 2014 (ScienceDaily) - Researchers at Mass. Eye and Ear have published a study that may help to find a cure for proliferative retinopathies, which is the most common cause of blindness. They discovered that the body’s immune system helps remove abnormal blood vessels that take away sight, but leaves the healthy cells and tissue intact. This discovery is useful because doctors can identify ways to influence the immune system to “clean out” the retina, which can delay or even restore blindness. Kip M. Connor, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Ophthalmology at the Mass. Eye and Ear Angiogenesis Laboratory, said that "It is our hope that future studies will allow us to develop specific therapeutics that harnesses this knowledge resulting in a greater visual outcome and quality of life for patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy or retinopathy of prematurity."
Teacher-Runner Sees Role Clearly
Mar. 20, 2014 (ItemLive) - Jess Kochman will be joining the 35,660 people running in the Boston Marathon this year, alongside her running partner Kristin Fleschner. She will be running with a different purpose however; Fleschner is blind, and the two have been training together all year. “It seemed like a cool opportunity," Kochman said. "She (Fleschner) ended up qualifying for Boston. She told me (that if she was) doing a lot of runs with me, I might as well run Boston”. Kochman said that after last year’s tragedy, she felt the only way to run would be for a charity. She chose to raise money for Mass. Eye and Ear, because Fleschner has received countless eye treatments here. “"It means a lot to be running it after that horrible incident occurred, and to be raising money for a hospital that really helped some of the victims, absolutely”. Although Fleschner will be running with a professional guide, Kochman will be running right next to her.
Workers Recount Chaos of Boston Bombing
March 20, 2014 (Journal Tribune) - April 15th, 2013 was a day that Mass. Eye and Ear, along with the Boston community, will never forget. “It was organized chaos”, said RN Deb Trocchi in a discussion this about the marathon. Others who spoke at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, NH, were Maureen Martinez, nursing manager, and Dr. Aaron Remenschneider. The staffs at Mass. Eye and Ear are using their experience from last year’s tragedy to move forward and treat other patients from bombings in a new way. “The victims of that day have been so empowering and so willing to share their stories and take part in the research,” said Remenschneider. “I have been so impressed at their willingness to help a broader community.”
Driving Simulator Used to Help Learn How the Visually Impaired Can Drive Safely
March 17, 2014 (RedOrbit) - Hemianopia is blindness in one half of the visual field in both eyes as the result of strokes, tumors or trauma. In most cases, it is illegal to drive with hemianopia. However, in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Switzerland and Canada, driving is permitted with a special road test. Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear conducted research to see how people driving with hemianopia compensate for their vision loss. They had 14 drivers with hemianopia and 12 drivers with normal vision approach an intersection in a driving simulator to see how they scan the road. “We found that participants with hemianopia showed compensatory scanning patterns in that their first scan was usually to the side of their field loss. Drivers with right hemianopia tended to look to the right before looking to the left. By comparison, the normally sighted drivers and drivers with left hemianopia typically looked to the left first,” said Alex Bowers Ph.D, lead author on the paper. In order to see the full field of vision, drivers with hemianopia must make larger head scans. However, these “drivers” did not make larger scans; in fact, many of them made smaller head scans. The researchers believe that some drivers with hemianopia might benefit from training tailored to their disorder.
Hearing-impaired Toddler Hears for First Time with Help of Special Implant
March 5, 2014 (The Indy Channel RTV 6 ABC) - Seventeen-month-old Alex Frederick finally heard for the first time last month, thanks to an Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI). This device was created in Italy by Dr. Vittorio Colletti, and was just beginning to undergo clinical trials to win FDA approval. Alex’s parents jumped on board, and flew from Michigan to Boston to have the surgery done at Mass. Eye and Ear. They came back several weeks later to test it, and it appeared that the device was not going to work; Alex still could not hear anything. All of a sudden, keys dropped, and Alex turned his head. He heard his first sound.
12-year-old Boy on Dream Trip before Going Blind
March 4, 2014 (Osun Defender) - Louie Corbett, a 12-year-old from New Zealand, will be blind very soon. He has a disorder called retinitis pigmentosa, a progressive disorder that deteriorates his vision. Usually this occurs over decades, but Louie’s condition is accelerated. Louie’s parents wanted him and his brother’s to see the world before he went completely blind. So, Louie made a “Vision Bucket List”, and on it, he included a Boston Celtics game. On his journey through Boston, Louie stopped at Mass. Eye and Ear, where he was able to see that there is ocular research being conducted to reverse his condition, and turn this into just an excellent trip.
Children's Eye Health 101
March, 2014 (Boston Parents Paper) - Parents are often confused about their child’s eyesight, especially since most symptoms are “fuzzy”; sitting too close to the television, persistent eye blinking, or headaches may or may not be symptoms of vision loss. Boston Parents Paper talked with experts Dr. Melanie Kazlas of Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Dr. Jennifer P. Mullon of Lexington Eye Associates. They covered topics such as vision loss in infants, genetic conditions, and whether or not your child needs glasses or contacts. To get more information from the article, click here. To see a Q&A with Dr. Kazlas and Dr. Mullon on children's eye health, click here.
Inner-ear Delivery Device Sends Drugs out, Draws Fluid in
Feb. 26, 2014 (Fierce Drug Delivery) - Researchers at Mass. Eye and Ear and Draper Laboratory in Cambridge have come up with a new device that could make injection of medicine much easier for patients with hearing loss. This device is small enough to wear, and injects medicine into the inner tube of the ear, while pushing other fluids out to maintain a constant pressure. This device has already been tested in vitro and in vivo, and the next step is long-term testing.
Scientists Regenerate the Ear's Hair Cells to Treat Hearing Loss in Mice
Feb. 20, 2014 (Boston.com) - Albert Edge, researcher at Mass. Eye and Ear and founder of Audion Technologies, has been doing research in an attempt to reverse hearing loss. He has discovered that hair-like hearing cells in newborn mice can be regenerated when given an experimental drug originally used for Alzheimer’s. The cells that were being regenerated created a protein called LGR5, which is what helps turn them into hair cells. Edge says that although this does not help Audion’s research to make a first-generation drug that could be tested in people, it will help in future treatments or therapies.
Cochlear implants-with no exterior hardware
Feb, 9, 2014 (Phys.org) - Researchers from Mass. Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School and MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory have created a more convenient implant for people with hearing loss. They have designed a low-power microchip that can be used to make cochlear implants. Typically, these implants contain an exterior microphone to gather sound. However, this new chip will allow the implant to gather sound from the natural microphone in the middle ear. This new implant will run on a battery for up to eight hours, and can be charged using the battery from your cell phone.
Mike Toth and the Art of Branding
Feb. 5, 2014 (Boston Globe) – This article introduces Mike Toth, a branding guru, and mentions his collaboration with his doctor, Director of the Division of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Director of the Norman Knight Center, Dr. Daniel Deschler. On Sunday, Feb. 9., Toth and Dr. Deschler will come together for the opening of Toth’s photography exhibit. Proceeds of the exhibit will go towards funding Dr. Deschler’s work. More on the exhibit can be seen here.
Potential Therapeutic Role for Aspirin in the Management of Sporadic Vestibular Schwannoma
Feb. 5, 2014 (ASCO Post) – In patients with sporadic vestibular schwannoma, aspirin may be of benefit in minimizing tumor growth, according to new results presented in the journal of Otology and Neurotology. This finding may eliminate the need for invasive therapy and may complement existing modalities. Lead Author Konstantina Stankovic, M.D., Ph.D., of Mass. Eye and Ear, remarked, “Currently, there are no FDA-approved drug therapies to treat these tumors, which are the most common tumors of the cerebellopontine angle and the fourth most common intracranial tumors. Our results suggest a potential therapeutic role of aspirin in inhibiting vestibular schwannoma growth.”
Aspirin Could Slow Noncancerous Brain Tumors
Feb. 3, 2014 (Health 24) – A study funded in part by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and conducted by researchers on over 700 patients shows that aspirin might slow the growth of a noncancerous type of brain trumor that can lead to hearing loss, tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, or even death. "Our results suggest a potential therapeutic role of aspirin in inhibiting vestibular schwannoma growth," said Study Leader Dr. Konstantina Stankovic, otologic surgeon and researcher at Mass. Eye and Ear.
Aspirin Might Help Treat Brain Tumor Tied to Hearing Loss
Jan. 30, 2014 (Health Day) – A new study on the effects that aspirin can have on vestibular schwannomas and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, revealed that the rate of tumor growth was slower in patients who took aspirin than in those who didn't take the drug. Age and gender did not affect the findings."Our results suggest a potential therapeutic role of aspirin in inhibiting vestibular schwannoma growth," said Study Leader Dr. Konstantina Stankovic, otologic surgeon and researcher at the Mass. Eye and Ear.
Postmenopausal Estrogen Therapy Tied to Lower Glaucoma Risk
Jan. 30, 2014 (Health Day News) – New research has shown that women who take estrogen-only hormone-replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms might also be reducing their risk for glaucoma. However, Dr. Angel Turalba, glaucoma specialist at Mass. Eye and Ear, has said, “The new study results do not suggest that reducing risk of glaucoma is reason enough to take hormone replacement therapy.” This kind of therapy can increase health risks, like heart disease, breast cancer and stroke.
Children Born Blind Can Learn to See as Teenagers
Jan. 29, 2014 (Nature) – In a study of children born with blindness who underwent surgery to restore vision, researchers have found that the brain can still restore vision later in life. Researchers tested the children's ability to perceive contrast between varying shades of grey, a skill that would make it possible to read many texts, for example. The study was carried out using software developed by co-author Luis Andres Lesmes and a team led by Vision Scientist Peter Bex, Ph.D., at Harvard Medical School . The test was administered two times following surgery, six months apart. Of the 11 children studies, five of the patients showed progression in their vision.
Visual System Can Retain Considerable Plasticity After Extended Blindness
Jan. 27, 2014 (Medical Xpress) – A new study conducted by researchers at Mass. Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School and Mass. Institute of Technology shows that the human visual system can retain plasticity beyond critical periods, even after early and extended vision loss during childhood. "Our research group has been studying the development of vision in children who were blind from birth because of congenital cataracts. We have been measuring if and how their vision develops after surgery in late childhood and adolescence to remove cataracts, which enable sight for the first time. Our results show remarkable plasticity and vision continues to improve in many children long after the surgery," said Senior Author Dr. Peter J. Bex.
Study Suggests Potential Therapeutic Role of Aspirin in Inhibiting Vestibular Schwannoma Growth
Jan. 24, 2014 (News Medical) – Researchers from Mass. Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, Mass. Institute of Technology and Mass. General Hospital have demonstrated, for the first time ever, that aspirin intake relates directly to halted growth of vestibular schwannomas, or acoustic neuromas. This is a potentially lethal intracranial tumor that can cause hearing loss and tinnitus. "Currently, there are no FDA-approved drug therapies to treat these tumors, which are the most common tumors of the cerebellopontine angle and the fourth most common intracranial tumors," explains Konstantina Stankovic, M.D., Ph.D., Mass. Eye and Ear clinican-researcher and assistant professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School, who led the study. "Current options for management of growing vestibular schwannomas include surgery, via craniotomy, or radiation therapy, both of which are associated with potentially serious complications.'"
No More Eye Drops? Contact Lens Prototype Delivers
Jan. 22, 2014 (Live Science) – Researchers at Mass. Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School have developed a contact lens that directly delivers treatment to the eye for patients with glaucoma. The medication can also help correct vision in such patients. People using traditional eye drops for glaucoma "aren't getting any symptomatic relief, and they're not seeing better, so there's not a lot of motivation to be compliant with the medication," said Dr. Joseph Ciolino, the ophthalmologist who, along with his mentor Dr. Daniel Kohane, developed the new contact lens at Harvard Medical School.
New Tool to Predict Retinal Detachment after OGI
Jan. 10, 2014 (Optometry UK) – Looking at data from over 893 patients diagnosed with an open globe injury between 1999 to 2011, a team from Mass. Eye and Ear found that 29% of the patients went on to develop retinal detachment.Dr. Dean Elliot, lead author if the study and associate director of the Retina Service at Mass. Eye and Ear, has said: “The RD-OGI score may be useful to help the ophthalmologist predict which patients are at a higher risk for retinal detachment after open globe trauma.”
Open Globe Trauma May Lead to Retinal Detachment
Jan. 7, 2014 (Healio) – In a retrospective study of over 893 patients with open globe injury at Mass. Eye and Ear for the past 10 years, investigators measured detachment time and clinical factors of retinal detachment after open globe injury using a tool called multivariable logistic regression. Open globe trauma commonly causes retinal detachment, which may take weeks to appear after the traumatic event, according to the study.
New Tool May Help Predict Retinal Detachment After Open Globe Injuries
Jan. 2, 2014 (News Medical) – Researchers from Mass. Eye and Ear, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and Harvard Medical School’s Department of Ophthalmology report on the first study in 35 years that reviews the circumstances around retinal detachment after open globe injuries (OGI) and describes a new tool that may help ophthalmologists predict which patients are at higher risk after open globe trauma so they can potentially prevent retinal detachment from happening or identify, and help restore vision more quickly.
Insight Into Likelihood of Retinal Detachment Following Open Globe Injury
Jan. 1, 2014 (Medical Xpress) – Ocular trauma causing a breach in the wall of the eye, or open globe injury (OGI), is a major cause of vision loss, with more than 200,000 open globe injuries occurring worldwide each year. Retinal detachment can follow this injury, causing significant vision loss of blindness. Researchers at Mass. Eye and Ear performed a retrospective review of about 1,036 consecutive OGIs evaluated by the Eye Trauma Service of Mass. Eye and Ear from Feb. 1, 1999 to Nov. 30, 2011. “We took this information, along with other variables, and created the Retinal Detachment after Open Globe Injury (RD-OGI) score,” said Dr. Dean Elliot, a senior author and associate director of the Mass. Eye and Ear Retina Service. Dr. Stelios Evangelos Gragoudas, associate professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, said, “After prospective validation with independent cohorts, the RD-OGI score may be useful to help the ophthalmologist predict which patients are at higher risk for retinal detachment after open globe trauma."