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MIT researchers play Borg God
March 14, 2006 2:36 AM   Subscribe

New hope for blind hamsters. According to the Guardian, scientists at MIT have repaired brain damage and restored eyesight to rodents using nanotechnology. In the study, minute particles were injected into damaged parts of the brain, and subsequently arranged themselves into a "scaffold" gel throughout the damaged area. The scaffold allowed severed nerves to regrow and form new connections. 75% of test animals' injuries were improved with the new technique. (The article did not note if the test subjects offered any resistance to the therapeutic measures.)
posted by rob511 (18 comments total)

 
Apologies for the single-link post, but I couldn't find any other backup. Even so, I thought this was worth a mention.
posted by rob511 at 2:37 AM on March 14, 2006


title should have been formatted thusly: MIT researchers play Borg God
posted by rob511 at 2:39 AM on March 14, 2006


Awesome. Becoming blind has always been one of my biggest fears.
posted by spazzm at 3:20 AM on March 14, 2006


The Guardian site won't load for me. grrrrr

There are implications beyond hamster eyesight. It's been known that neurons DO regenerate, but rebuilding the neurological connective communication "network" has been an elusive goal. The "scaffold" could mean regaining function for spinal cord nerve injuries as well as cerebral nerve injuries.

I'd heard rumours about the MIT study; this is very cool.
posted by reflecked at 3:21 AM on March 14, 2006


Way cool news.
posted by nickyskye at 3:58 AM on March 14, 2006


Good news for one mefite in particular.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:02 AM on March 14, 2006


Can’t wait until I can inject this neural "scaffold" gel into one of my lungs to form an extra giant brain which could then be used for bullying my smaller then insignificant old brain.
posted by JeNeSaisQuoi at 4:30 AM on March 14, 2006


Heck, I'd be satisifed with a treatment for myopia and presbyopia. Damn arms are getting too short - and when I hold stuff out where I can see it without glasses it's out of focus.

Failing that, can I just get a treatment for the myopia and an arm extension?
posted by JB71 at 4:36 AM on March 14, 2006


ouch slimepuppy.
posted by nickyskye at 5:00 AM on March 14, 2006


"One British scientist who spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity said the therapy needed to be repeated by other groups" Interesting in light of the recent march in the UK in favour of animal testing, as well as the climate created by groups like the ALF.
posted by Wilder at 5:09 AM on March 14, 2006


I for one welcome our new unresisting optic nerve-supporting-nano-scaffold hamster overlords.

seriously.
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:14 AM on March 14, 2006


(The article did not note if the test subjects offered any resistance to the therapeutic measures.)

Resistance is futile.
posted by delmoi at 6:16 AM on March 14, 2006


Heck, I'd be satisifed with a treatment for myopia and presbyopia. Damn arms are getting too short - and when I hold stuff out where I can see it without glasses it's out of focus.

Glasses and HGH. Human growth hormone causes the muscles used in your eyes to grow again.
posted by delmoi at 6:19 AM on March 14, 2006


One of the hamsters developed ocular lasers. He was constantly fighting with one that developed claws instead.
posted by qvantamon at 6:36 AM on March 14, 2006


Got the glasses, Delmoi - hadn't heard about the HGH thing though. Thanks - I'll check it out.

Let's see - I've got presbyopia, myopia and astigmatism. (great combo, eh? Can't see worth shit, and even when I CAN, I can't see straight.) Thought about some of the various surgeries, but seeing I've only got one pair of eyes (and even though the failure rate for the various things like PRK, RK and the like are quite low) I'm a bit leery of those. Glasses are eminently reversable, unlike surgery...

Of course, my dad wears quadrifocals...

Man, I hope something really good comes of this...
posted by JB71 at 7:21 AM on March 14, 2006


Can it cure me of GLAUCOMA, GLAUCOMA, GLAUCOMA?

Can anything?
posted by longbaugh at 7:35 AM on March 14, 2006


Becoming a hamster has always been one of my biggest fears. Do they have a cure for that yet?
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:49 AM on March 14, 2006


Well, I hope they can help these guys.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:04 AM on March 14, 2006


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