Bionic implant improves vision for some eye patients | Fox News

It may sound like something out of “Star Trek”: Doctors have implanted a device in patients that has restored some central vision after advanced eye disease left those individuals with only limited peripheral vision. This is the first time that artificial and natural vision has ever been integrated in humans, the U.K.-based research team said.

The study was small and preliminary, involving only four patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The research team reported that the implant enabled the patients to recognize the outline of faces and some facial characteristics, such as whether the mouth was open or closed ordinary details of life that had long been lost to these patients, as AMD slowly robbed them of their vision.

The research was presented this week (May 3) at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Seattle, Washington. [5 Experts Answer: What’s the Best Way to Preserve My Eyesight?]

AMD, as the name implies, is a deterioration of the eye’s macula, a small area in the back of the eye that allows you to see fine details clearly. AMD does not lead to complete blindness, but rather to the gradual loss of central vision that can interfere with everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, read or do close work, such as cooking. The remaining peripheral vision doesn’t provide the acuity for such activities.

AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 2 million Americans have AMD a number that’s expected to more than double by 2050, according to government data. AMD is most common among people over age 65. The cause is unknown, but people’s risk of being stricken by the condition is heavily influenced by smoking and genetics.

Doctors have been successful in slowing the advance of AMD through a dietary supplement regimen comprising vitamin C, beta-carotene and other nutrients. Injections of prescription drugs are also used to treat certain kinds of advanced AMD. However, no treatment can reverse the loss of vision.

To restore central vision in four patients with advanced AMD, doctors implanted into their eyes a device called the Argus II electronic epiretinal prosthesis. This is a new commercial product that, in earlier incarnations, has restored very limited sight to people who had only perception-of-light vision as a result of a rare, degenerative eye disease. The device is essentially a miniature camera attached to the back of the eye that captures images and sends electrical signals to the brain. [The 7 Biggest Mysteries of the Human Body]

None of the patients reported “confusion” about what they were seeing when the device was turned on. This was a concern for the researchers, because the brain was receiving a combination of natural electrical impulses from the peripheral areas of the eye as well as artificial impulses from the central implant, and they didn’t know how the brain would interpret this.

Another element of success was that the implant didn’t seem to cause problems in the patients’ bodies; they tolerated them for up to six months, with no signs of infection.

The researchers wrote that, while previous implants have helped people with rare diseases, the latest research results may “indicate a new way of restoring central vision in one of the most common causes of severe loss of central vision in people over the age of 50, dry age-related macular degeneration for which no other treatments are currently available.”

The research team comprised doctors and engineers from the University of Manchester in England and the company that makes the implant, Second Sight Medical Products in Sylmar, California.

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Mount St. Helens Fast Facts

(CNN)Here are some facts to know about Mount. St. Helens, the most active volcano in the Cascade Mountains in Washington state.

Mount St. Helens
is a volcano in the Cascade Mountains, in the area called the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. It is administered by the National Forest Service, not the National Park Service.
It is located in Washington state, about 55 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon, and 95 miles south of Seattle, Washington.
Over the last 500 years, Mount St. Helens has had at least four major explosive eruptions and many minor eruptions.
Mount St. Helens was named by Commander George Vancouver and the officers of H.M.S. Discovery for British diplomat Alleyne Fitzherbert (1753-1839). Fitzherbert’s title was Baron St. Helens.
1792-1794 –
The mountain was named while Commander Vancouver and H.M.S. Discovery officers were surveying the northern Pacific coast.
1835 – Mount St. Helens is first recognized as a volcano.
1857-1980 – Mount St. Helens is inactive.
May 18, 1980 – 8:32 am PDT – Mount St. Helens erupts.
The eruption blows off more than 1,000 feet from the top of the mountain, leaving a huge crater. The mountain had been known for its snow-capped peak, earning the nickname “the Fuji of America” for its resemblance to Japan’s Mount Fuji.
Fifty-seven people are killed. Damage caused by the blast costs $1.1 billion (USGS).
Hot ash causes forest fires, and snow melt from the top of the mountain causes floods.
Volcanic ash spreads across the Northwest. More than 900,000 tons of ash are cleaned up from areas around Washington state.
The 1980 eruption is the first eruption in the continental United States outside of Alaska since 1917.
1980-1986 – Many small eruptions occur.
October 1986 – Sixteen “dome-building” eruptions build up the dome in the center of the crater.
Fall 2004 – Several days of unusual seismic activity lead seismologists to believe that an explosion resulting from steam buildup is likely to occur.
Oct. 1, 2004 – Mount St. Helens begins blowing a large cloud of smoke and steam on a Friday afternoon following a week in which scientists have closely monitored the volcano. Officials placed the region around the mountain on a volcanic advisory earlier in the week. The advisory issued is at the third of four levels — with the fourth being eruption.
Oct. 4. 2004 – Huge plumes rise from Mount St. Helens, where geologists have been expecting a volcanic eruption. Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey say the volcano was likely having another steam eruption. A USGS official estimates the steam was rising about 10,000 feet from the top of the crater. Officials say some ash came out as well from the lava dome.
Oct. 11, 2004 – More steam erupts from Mount St. Helens. Earthquake activity declined after two days of increased activity. Mount St. Helens remains at a level two volcanic advisory.
Nov. 6, 2004 – A new lava dome formed inside Mount St. Helens’ crater continues to grow, now sprouting a growth that extends upward by nearly 330 feet, officials said. The growth has taken place since Oct. 27, 2004.
March 8, 2005 – Mount St. Helens releases a column of smoke and ash nearly six miles high, leaving a plume visible for more than 50 miles.
September 11, 2005 – The U.S. Geological Survey raises the advisory for Mount St. Helens to “orange,” which means that a high likelihood of volcanic activity exists, but it is not likely to threaten life.
May 2006 – A three hundred foot “fin” made of lava begins growing out of the crater.
January 2008 – Eruptions that have occured continously since October 2004 cease.
July 2014 – Final preparations begin for what geophysicists call the “equivalent of a combined ultrasound and CAT scan” of the inside of the volcano, a joint project by scientists at Rice University, the University of Washington, the University of Texas at El Paso and others that involves placing 3,500 seismic sensors around the volcano. The project will take four years in all and aims to improve volcanic monitoring and advance warning systems.
November 3, 2015 – Scientists investigating the interior of the volcano in the Imaging Magma Under St. Helens (iMUSH) project present the first results at the Geological Society of America convention, saying there is not only a magma chamber directly below Mount St. Helens, between 4 and 13 kilometers deep (2.5 miles and 8.1 miles), there are other chambers east of the mountain that appear to be connected, with magma flowing between them.

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80-Year-Old Grandmother Opens Fire, Kills Home Invader Who Was Stabbing Her Husband

What would you do if you saw a loved one being murdered right before your eyes, as an armed assailant continually plunges the knife into them.

It’s one of the most depressing thoughts you could have, I know; that’s what makes what this 80-year-old grandmother did even more incredible – because she lived it. She listened from another room as a young robber kept stabbing her 75-year-old husband and had quick enough wit to grab a gun.

When she came out to the grizzly scene unfolding in her home she couldn’t stand it, the thought of losing her husband like this was even worse, so she opened fire. Her husband had to be transported by air to Seattle, Washington’s Harborview Medical Center in critical condition and the assailant was pronounced dead on scene when the police arrived.

It’s an incredibly tragic story and my heart goes out to that old woman – no one should ever have to live through something like that.

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Raccoon’s power station caper cuts electricity to 40,000 Seattle homes

Masked bandit pays the ultimate price after breaking into Washington state substation, bringing down electric grid in a dozen suburbs

Nearly 40,000 homes were without power on Wednesday morning after a raccoon broke into a substation in Seattle, Washington, and single-pawedly brought down the electric grid in a dozen suburbs.

The creature caused 13 separate system outages during its brief but energetic visit.

Adam Mertz (@AJMertz) May 11, 2016

Want to see the raccoon that knocked out power overnight in Seattle? Here’s our video @djackthephotog via @Q13FOX

Seattle Power and Light tweeted that an animal entered one of our substations in the early hours of the morning, causing a power outage that stretched across the suburbs from Golden Gardens Park to Queen Anne, north of the city.

Eyewitness Jeff Pierce, who lives near the substation, told KIRO7 that he heard an explosion just before 3am, and then saw city workers and a dazed raccoon that had been shocked inside the substation.

Sadly, the raccoon did not survive the experience, Seattle Power and Light confirmed on Twitter.

Seattle City Light (@SEACityLight) May 11, 2016

An animal entered one of our substations causing this most recent outage. Still investigating and hope to get everyone powered up asap.

On Twitter, some users were already calling the event the Great Seattle Raccoon Blackout of 2016.

Electricity was not fully restored until about 8am, according to the utility.

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Black West Point cadets will not be punished for raised-fists photo

US Military Academy says an internal inquiry found the sixteen female cadets had not violated defense department rules limiting political activity

Sixteen black West Point cadets who posed with raised fists for a pre-graduation picture will not be punished for the gesture.

The US Military Academy said on Tuesday it concluded the group photo did not violate any Department of Defense rules limiting political activity.

West Point said in a statement an internal inquiry found the picture of the 16 female cadets captured a spur-of-the-moment gesture intended to demonstrate unity and pride.

The seniors will graduate on 21 May.

Some observers outside the academy had suggested the cadets violated the military policy by posing with clenched fists held head high.

A raised fist has symbolized political resistance for generations. It was used by Black Power advocates in the 1960s.

A mentor to the women has said they were simply celebrating their forthcoming graduation.

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Discovery Girls magazine under fire for swimsuit tips for pre-teen girls

Publisher apologises after article encouraging 8- to 12-year-olds to add curves and draw the eyes down left her lost for words

The publisher of a US magazine aimed at 8- to 12-year-old girls has apologised for offering tips on choosing bathing suits based on size and curves.

Tween girls who are curvy up top were advised in the latest issue of Discovery Girls that coverage is key and they should opt for a one-piece with side cutouts or ties to draw the eyes down.

If youre straight up and down, the article went on, girls were advised to add curves with asymmetrical straps.

Big block patterns were offered for those rounder in the middle all under the headline: What swimsuit best suits you?

Taffy Akner (@taffyakner) May 10, 2016

Hey @DiscoveryGirls, why not include diet tips/surgical options with this? Your readers are 9, after all. Tick tock.

After taking heat on Twitter and other social media, founder and publisher Catherine Lee issued a lengthy apology on the Discovery Girls Facebook page expressing shock that the article was published.

I am in total agreement with all of you regarding this article, so much so that I wanted to make this letter as public as possible, she wrote. We want to make sure that our girls know that any article that makes you feel bad about your body is not a good article, and should be questioned.

Lee said it was still hard for me to believe that an article so contrary to our magazines mission could have been published on our pages. I have been a loss for words for days.

She did not give further details about the commissioning and publishing of the article, but said it was supposed to be about finding cute, fun swimsuits that make girls feel confident, but instead it focused on girls body image and had a negative impact.

Lee added: Nobody knows better than Discovery Girls how impressionable our girls are at this age and we are ALWAYS mindful of this.

She said the magazine was not immune to making mistakes, but we are always willing to get better and learn from our mistakes.

But responses to Lees apology some from parents of girls in the magazines target age group queried why the article had been published at all.

I dont want your magazine telling my nine-year-old that she needs to feel confident in her swimsuit. She has no current thoughts about NOT feeling confident in her swimsuit, wrote one subscriber.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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Google proposes new set of female emojis to promote equality

The 13 new representations presented at the Unicode consortium include cartoon female engineers, chemists, plumbers and farmers

Google employees have proposed a new set of emojis aimed at promoting gender equality in the workplace, including cartoon female engineers, chemists, plumbers and farmers.

The Google team presented the designs of 13 new emojis on Tuesday at the Unicode Consortium, a Silicon Valley not-for-profit group that runs an emoji subcommittee overseeing the creation of new emojis.

No matter where you look, women are gaining visibility and recognition as never before, the four Google workers wrote in their proposal. Isnt it time that emoji also reflect the reality that women play a key role in every walk of life and in every profession?

As emojis have exploded in popularity in recent years, there have been ongoing debates about diversity in the available images, prompting the creation of more racially diverse faces as well as same-sex emojis.

Of the 92% of online consumers who use emojis, 78% of frequent users are women, compared to 60% of men. Photograph: from website

Given that millions of people across the globe use emojis as an important means of communication and that women under 30 are most the frequent emoji users by far, the Google proposal said its not surprising that women and men are increasingly vocal about the need for more accurate female representation in emoji professions.

Jeremy Burge, the founder of both the online resource Emojipedia and World Emoji Day, as well as a member of the Unicode Consortiums Emoji Subcommittee, told the Guardian that the proposal from Google was well-written and pragmatic from an encoding point of view, meaning that it could be implemented fairly quickly.

If something like this were adopted, it could be put on phones this year, rather than waiting 12 to 18 months for Unicode 10. … The pitch from Google is basically if we want to do this, and sooner than mid-2017, this proposal would allow that.

Burge was in favour of the proposal. Its pretty clear that female-oriented professions are under-represented in emoji, and this approach is a clever way to address the issue now, rather than pushing it down the line.

He said he expected more would be known about the outcome by the meeting of the Unicode Technical Committee in August.

Of the 92% of online consumers who use emojis, 78% of frequent users are women, compared to 60% of men, according to the report.

There have also been growing concerns about sexism and stereotypes that female emojis can promote. Last month, first lady Michelle Obama tweeted that she would love to see a girl studying emoji, the Google proposal noted.

The Google team chose professions for its proposal based on labor data and the increasing interest in gender equality in science, technology, engineering and math.

Ultimately, they came up with a list that included jobs in farming, manufacturing, healthcare, technology, business, education, food service and music.

The team said it hopes the adoption of their emojis will be rapid: Given the urgency to improve the representation of women in emoji, we recommend standardizing these characters as quickly as possible.

Elle Hunt contributed reporting.

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