Life-Saving Golden Rice Finally Gets to Poor Farmers Despite Environmentalist Opposition

By Ronald Bailey – Re-Blogged From Reason

Bangladesh announces that it will allow its farmers to plant this genetically improved crop

Golden Rice which has been genetically engineered to have higher levels of the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene is finally about be to approved for planting by poor farmers in Bangladesh. This a big step toward improving the health of some of the poorest people on the planet. Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness in between 250,000 and 500,000 children each year, half of whom die within 12 months, according to the World Health Organization. A study by German researchers in 2014 estimated that activist opposition to the deployment of Golden Rice has resulted in the loss of 1.4 million life-years in just India alone.

Environmentalist ideologues have fought fiercely for two decades to prevent this crop from being offered to poor farmers in developing countries. Among other things, they hired thugs to rip up test fields of the grain at the International Rice Research Institute in the Phillippines.

GoldenRiceIRRI

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Bionic Eye to Aid the Blind Ready for Human Trials

By Eric Mack – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

Biomedical engineering is closing in on a device that can help the blind see, according to the U.K.’s Daily Star.

A bionic eye is set to be implanted into humans for the first time, as the University of Sydney, Australia, seeks human trials before a potential release of the “Phoenix 99 Bionic Eye.”

austrailian prime minister kevin rudd looks at the prototype for a bionic eye with includes a pair of glasses.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd inspects a prototype bionic eye which will deliver improved quality of life for patients suffering from degenerative vision loss. (WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

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An Orange a Day Keeps Blindness Away

By Bill Hoffmann – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

Eating just one orange a day may help stop macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness, according to a new study.

Researchers who interviewed more than 2,000 adults age 50 and above, and followed them over a 15-year period, found those who regularly eat oranges are less likely to develop the age-related, vision-robbing disease.

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Stem Cell Transplants Restore 2 Patients’ Vision

Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

An experimental stem cell therapy restored partial vision to two patients with a common cause of blindness, British doctors reported this week.

Embyronic stem cells were converted into patches of eye cells and grown in the lab. The patches were then inserted into the back of one eye in each of the patients, both of whom suffer from age-related macular degeneration, the BBC News reported.

The transplants, on a woman in her sixties and an 86-year-old man, were performed at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. A year later, both patients report improved vision in the treated eye.

Another eight more patients are scheduled to take part in the clinical trial of the procedure, reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

“We’ve restored vision where there was none,” Lyndon da Cruz, consultant retinal surgeon at Moorfields, told BBC News.

“It’s incredibly exciting. As you get older, parts of you stop working and for the first time we’ve been able to take a cell and make it into a specific part of the eye that’s failing and put it back in the eye and get vision back.”

Da Cruz stopped short of calling the procedure a cure because it does not completely restore normal vision.

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Gene Therapy That Fixes Hereditary Blindness

By Patrick Caughill – Re-Blogged From Futurism

In Brief

An FDA advisory panel just unanimously approved a new gene therapy that can restore sight in patients with a rare genetic disorder. In clinical trials, more than 90 percent of patients saw improvement in eyesight.

Unanimous Vote

After some emotional testimony from doctors and patients, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel has voted unanimously to approve a gene therapy that improves hereditary blindness. The treatment will now progress to a final decision from the FDA and, if approved, will be the first gene therapy legally available in the United States for an inherited disorder. The FDA is under no obligation to follow the advisory board’s recommendation but usually does.

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