10 October, 2023

Hot Off The Press

…and also in assessing the risks of heart attack, stroke, and Parkinsons Disease among others, just by assessing images of the retina. Pretty cool.

The idea is that this “nanobody” can stabilise the rhodopsin part of a photoreceptor which is unstable in some types of RP. This is in the earliest stages of research but who knows? Anything is possible!

This study reveals for the first time that when the “CERKL gene” is missing, retinal cells are permanently stressed. “This basal exacerbated state means that when additional oxidative damage is caused — as with continuous light stimulation — the cells are no longer able to respond because they can no longer activate antioxidant response mechanisms”. 

There are many types of ocular imaging from ocular CT and ocular MRI, to optoretinography, laser speckle flowgraphy, and retinal oximetry. A selection of patients with various IRDs were assessed twice yearly over a period of 6 years with several types of imaging, and also with functional vision testing. Surprisingly, the progression of deterioration did not correlate well between the imaging tests and the functional vision.  A wider scope of functional vision tests will help refine the outcomes for research. Then early changes in cone photoreceptors can be used to select emerging therapies for IRDs.

Guest writer – Dr Catherine Civil

My name is Dr Catherine Civil. I have been associated with Retina Australia since the early 2000s. At that time, they were called WARPF, or the WA Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation. WARPF were raffling a car in a shopping centre, and it caught my eye because my dad and my uncle both had Retinitis Pigmentosa. Being a doctor and a parent, I had a particular interest and awareness, not just of the disease, but of the fact that there was a significant risk that I or my children or my relatives might have inherited it.

I turned up at an AGM and found myself on the Board and engaged in fundraising. I spent several years on the Board and met some wonderful people, and I was even Chairman for a couple of years. When I left, I started writing the “Hot off the Press” research update column for the newsletter.

I arrived from the UK in the early 1990s with my husband and twin baby girls to live in Perth for a year for a bit of sunshine and fun, and we find ourselves still having fun in WA 30 years later, and with a grown son as well.

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