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Archive for the ‘Blindness’ Category

Genentech Could Regain the Blindness-Related Disease Market with New Treatment – BioSpace

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

After announcing topline data from two identical Phase III trials, Roches Genentechhas doubled down on dataand is now showing positive results from four studiesfor itsnewestblindness-fighting treatment.

Faricimabis an injectable treatment to maintain the vision of patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD). These are two of the leading causes of blindness withnAMDresponsible for 90% of all blindness resulting from AMD.

Genetechs Lucentis was thefirst FDA-approved drugprovento restore sight innAMDpatients.Since 2006 it had been a game-changer in theophthalmologyworld. But thenRegenerons Eyleacame in as the main contender andthe companies have had to share the market since 2011.

Genentech is now stepping it upwithfaricimab,a new class of medicine. Instead of focusing onthesingle protein targetVEGF, like Lucentis and Eylea,faricimabis a bispecific antibody.The drug targets two distinct pathways -via angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and VEGF-A.This approach bothreduces the growth of blood vessels on the retinalike its predecessorsandstabilizesvessels to reduce inflammation in the eye.

Thetreatmentalso gets a major leg up from proof of ability to go longer between injections.

Patients are understandably put off by an injection to the eyeball. Couple that with fears over COVID-19 exposure and sales of current Lucentis treatments seriously dipped in 2020 by 16%, about $1.6 billion.

Lucentisinjections wereneededmonthly for most patients.Competitor Eylea was needed monthly or bi-monthly, depending on the patient.The burden of treatment has proven to lead to under-treatment and therefore less than optimal outcomes for patients vision.

Faricimabspotential to extend time between treatments may benefit those patients who struggle to keep up with the regular physician visits and eye injections needed to preserve their vision,said Jeffrey Heier, M.D., Director of Retinal Research at Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston in Boston, Mass.

Genentechs clinical trial design was the proofin the pudding forthis new drug. The four studies consistently showedfaricimabto bejust aseffectiveas competitor Eylea even when administered at longer intervals. Half of the patients were able to be treated effectively once every four months. About75% were eligible for treatment every three monthsor longer.Both are a major improvement to patient convenience compared to monthly or even bi-monthly injections.

These positive results show the potential forfaricimabas the first new type of medicine in 15 years for people with neovascular age-related macular degeneration and in close to a decade in diabetic macular edema, said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. This is an exciting time for our ophthalmology clinical development program, with multiple Phase III successes for two medicines from our late-stage pipeline. We hope to bring these potential treatments to people living with vision-threatening retinal conditions as soon as possible.

Genentech has not yet announced when they will seek FDA approval forfaricimabbut experts anticipate an aggressive timeline.

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Genentech Could Regain the Blindness-Related Disease Market with New Treatment - BioSpace


Prevent Blindness to Hold Sixteenth Annual "Eyes on Capitol Hill" Advocacy Event – Yahoo Finance

Sunday, February 14th, 2021


We are indeed living in interesting times and in many ways, thats a good thing. Take the automotive industry, for example. Technology is changing a rapid pace, and when it settles, it will dramatically change the way we drive. In 2030, our concept of car will likely be unrecognizable to drivers from 1980. The biggest changes are coming from power systems and artificial intelligence. AI will bring autonomous tech to our cars, making self-driving vehicles a reality. But the power systems changes will hit us first. In fact, electric-drive vehicles are already on our roads, and electric vehicle (EV) companies are proliferating rapidly. For the moment, there are several roads to potential success in the EV market. Companies are working to position themselves as leaders in battery tech, or electric power trains, or to maximize their range and performance per charge. Its a fact-paced industry environment, offering both opportunity and excitement for investors. Smart investors will look for companies capable of meeting scaling demands, once they have settled on marketable models. Investment firm Morgan Stanley has been watching the EV industry, seeking out innovative new design and production companies that are positioning themselves for gains as the market matures. The firms automotive analyst, Adam Jonas, has selected two stocks that investors should seriously consider buying into, saying As we survey the EV/battery startup landscape, we are prioritizing highly differentiated technology and/or business models with a path to scale at a reasonable level of risk. Opening up the TipRanks database, weve pulled up the details on both of Jonas picks to see whether they could be a good fit for your portfolio. Fisker (FSR) First up, Fisker, is based in Southern California, the epicenter of so much of our ground-breaking tech industries. Fiskers focus is on solid-state battery tech, a growing alternative to the lithium-ion batteries that most EVs depend on. While more expensive that the older lithium-based systems, solid state batteries are safer and offer higher energy densities. Fisker has been busy patenting its moves into solid-state batteries, a sound strategy to lock in its advances in this field. For EVs, solid-state batteries offer faster charging times, longer range per charge, and potentially lower battery weight all important factors in vehicle performance. Every car company needs a flagship model, and Fisker has the Ocean an EV SUV with a mid-range price ($37,499) and a long-range power system (up to 300 miles). The vehicle features stylish design and room mounted solar panels to supplement the charging system, and is scheduled to enter serial production for the markets in 2022. The stylish design reflects the sensibilities of the companys founder, Henrik Fisker, known for his work on the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. Fisker entered the public markets through a SPAC merger agreement last fall. Since completing the SPAC transaction on October 29, shares in FSR are up 112%. Morgan Stanleys Jonas is impressed by this company, describing the value proposition of Fisker as design, time to market, clean sheet user experience and management expertise, and saying that the 4Q22 launch schedule for the Ocean is likely to be met. Fisker is specifically targeting the personal owned/passenger car business as opposed to commercial oriented end markets, where emotive design and user experience matter more. Additionally, the company wants to create an all-digital experience from the website to the app to the HMI in the car and continued customer engagement through its flexible lease product, Jonas added. In line with his upbeat outlook on the company (and the car), Jonas rates Fisker an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and sets a $27 price target suggesting an upside of 42% for the coming year. (To watch Jonas track record, click here) Turning to the TipRanks data, weve found that Wall Streets analysts hold a range of views on Fisker. The stock has a Moderate Buy analyst consensus rating, based on 7 reviews, including 4 Buys, 2 Holds, and 1 Sell. Shares are currently priced at $18.99, and the $21.20 average price target implies a one-year upside of ~12%. (See FSR stock analysis on TipRanks) QuantumScape (QS) Where Fisker is working on solid-state batteries in the context of vehicle production, QuantumScape is setting itself up as a leader in EV battery technology and a potential supplier of the next generation of battery and power systems for the EV market. QuantumScape designs and builds solid-state lithium-metal batteries, the highest energy density battery system currently available. The key advantages of the technology are in safety, lifespan, and charging times. Solid-state batteries are non-flammable; they last longer than lithium-ion batteries, with less capacity loss at the anode interface; and their composition allows faster charging, of 15 minutes or less to reach 80% capacity. QuantumScape is betting that these advantages will outweigh the technologys current higher cost, and create a new standard in EV power systems. The companys strongest tie to the EV production field is its connection with Volkswagen. The German auto giant put $100 million into QuantumScape in 2018, and an additional $200 million in 2020. The two companies are using their partnership to prepare for mass-scale development and production of solid-state batteries. Like Fisker, QuantumScape went public through a SPAC agreement late last year. The agreement, which closed on November 27, put the QS ticker in the public markets where it promptly surged above $130 per share. While the stock has since slipped, it remains up 47% from its NYSE opening. For Morgan Stanleys Jonas, involvement in QS stock comes with high risk, but also high potential reward. In fact, the analyst calls it, "The Biotech of Battery Development." "We believe their solid state technology addresses a very big impediment in battery science (energy density) that, if successful, can create extremely high value to a wide range of customers in the auto industry and beyond. The risks of moving from a single layer cell to a production car are high, but we think these are balanced by the commercial potential and the role of Volkswagen to help underwrite the early manufacturing ramp," Jonas explained. Noting that QS is a stock for the long haul, Jonas rates the shares an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and his $70 price target indicates confidence in an upside of 28% for one-year time horizon. Granted, not everyone is as enthusiastic about QS as Morgan Stanly. QS's Hold consensus rating is based on an even split between Buy, Hold, and Sell reviews. The shares are priced at $54.64 and their recent appreciation has pushed them well above the $46.67 average price target. (See QS stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for EV stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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Prevent Blindness to Hold Sixteenth Annual "Eyes on Capitol Hill" Advocacy Event - Yahoo Finance


No Valentines for Thousands of Couples That Remain Apart Due to COVID-19 – –

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

The legend says that in the 3rd century Rome lived a priest named Valentine, who married Roman soldiers with the women they were in love with, despite a law that prevented them from getting married.

Valentine, who later on was jailed for breaking the law, fell in love with his jailors blind daughter, whom he cured of blindness. Before he was executed, he wrote her a love message signed from your Valentine.

2020 may have needed a Valentine more than ever, to enable thousands and thousands of couples who were left apart for months, amid the Coronavirus outbreak, and the measures that were imposed in a bid of the governments to halt the spread of the infection, to reunite.

With entry bans in place, borders closed all over the world, embassies refusing to issue visas, and the absence of flights, thousands of lovers have had to spend the summer apart, thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Years Eve, and now even Saint Valentines day, the day of lovers.

Many of these people have once again taken the issue to Twitter, to protest the entry bans on the days that they were supposed to be with their significant other more than on any other day.

I woke up to a photo of my partner with a rose this is the most romantic its going to get today, wrote a Twitter user from Germany that goes by the handler @lealovinglifea1.

Many couples & families have been separated for almost a year now, and there is still no end in sight. How much longer do we have to suffer? another Twitter user wrote.

A tweet of the European Union Council asking Twitter users how many European languages can they say I love you in, and sharing a romantic soundtrack has upset many.

In 5 languages, but I cant say it to the one I love, Twitter user Alessandra Simoni answered among others.

Whereas, another Twitter user named Rita wrote that they [couples] dont need romantic soundtracks but need the EU to help them to reunite us with their non-EU partners no matter what language they speak.

Many of these couples now count over a year of being apart from each other, with no other option available for them that to hope this will soon end.

Spaniard Javier, on the story of whom previously reported, on Valentines day this year marked 416 days apart from his fianc Nazym, who is a Kazakh citizen. Desperate to find a solution, he has even proposed a hunger strike to push the government to undertake any measure in order to help their situation.

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No Valentines for Thousands of Couples That Remain Apart Due to COVID-19 - -


Pastor’s Corner Articles of Faith – Mercy on the Blind – 2021-02-12 – Sierra Sun Times

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

February 12, 2021 - In the final few verses of the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 20, we read of Jesus encounter with two blind men. The duo desired to be healed of their blindness and had joined the great crowd that formed around Jesus. The Lord passes by and the two cry out, Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David! What happens next? In verse 31 we read, The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!

Jesus does heal their blindness, but let us look at this verse above. Do we understand what is going on here? In the crowd were the literal followers of Christ. The disciples were in the group along with those interested in just seeing what the big deal was. There were people there who would be followers of Christ after the resurrection. There would be others that would join the mob that wanted Christ crucified. All started rebuking the blind men from crying out to the Lord for mercy. As Christians, we can understand people who are not Christians doing this but again, followers of Christ were doing the rebuking as well.

The disciples, time after time, failed to get what Christ was saying. Here in this short passage, we see two blind men getting it. They call Christ the son of David, a term reserved for the Messiah. Those who could see Christ in the flesh did not understand. The two blind men knew more about Christ than his disciples. They did what we do, go to Christ to receive mercy and we are given it. Rest upon that Christian. You are forgiven.

Wynter is an Elder at Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church. Find out more at or email him at Visit Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church on Facebook.

Pastors Corner isa column from Pastor Wynter Sturtevant III of the Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church.

TheChurch has moved locations, services are now held at the Bootjack Stompers Hall (located at 4662 Morman Bar Crossing) across from the Mariposa County Fairgrounds.

Time of service is at 10:00 A.M. on Sunday.

I am happy to announce that MRBC has its own sermon podcast. Please check it out by clicking on the link below or searching MRBC Sermons on iTunes. New sermons will be posted every Wednesday.

Note: Area churches interested in submitting Articles of Faith are welcome to contact us.

Please email the Sierra Sun Times at sst@goldrushcam.comfor more information.

Pastor's Corner Articles of Faith - Mercy on the Blind - 2021-02-12 - Sierra Sun Times


Wearing Face Masks Could Make It More Challenging for You to Identify People; What’s The Catch? – Science Times

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Many of us are used to seeing face masks but many still find it hard to recognize faces with the said covering on the face.

(Photo : Reuters Connect/Juan Medina)A man smokes a cigarette with his eyes covered by a face mask as he takes part in a protest against the use of protective masks during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Madrid, Spain

Unfortunately, while safety measures help deter and control coronavirus's spread, some individuals face a whole new covering problem: a touch of face blindness.

In a recentpreprint studyreported on the PsyArXiv Preprints server, researchers noticed that, relative to unmasked individuals, people were less likely to recognize masked images.

Although the study has not yet been peer-reviewed, further research is required. It revealed that participants find it challenging to identify masked faces that they might have suffered from face blindness.

However, something to bear in mind: only because you might be unable to recognize masked figures right now, that does not imply that you have face blindness, but it does go a small distance to explaining what dealing with the condition feels like. Here's what, in general, you ought to hear about face blindness.

Face blindness, also known as prosopagnosia, is a neurological condition that, according to theNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke(NINDS), relates to the failure to recognize images. There are various levels of face blindness. Some people will find it challenging to identify the face of the person. Others cannot differentiate between unfamiliar faces, and some will not discern faces from separate items in certain extreme situations.

Brad Duchaine, PhD, Dartmouth University professor of psychological and brain sciences,tells Healththat approximately one in 50 persons who suffer from facial blindness have a significant effect on their everyday lives.

Doctors think that face blindness is induced by brain defects or disability, especially the correct fusiform gyrus, or a certain fold in the brain that, according to the NINDS, helps with facial vision and memory. Some persons experience a lifespan of facial blindness. Others acquire it unexpectedly following brain injuries, such as stroke, head damage, or certain neurodegenerative disorders. Face blindness is not induced by visual deficiency, disabilities of literacy, or lack of memory.

ALSO READ:7 Tips to Avoid Fogging Your Eyeglasses While Wearing Face Masks

It is also interesting that while face blindness is not a typical autism spectrum disorder occurrence, it tends to be more frequent among children who have it, according to the NINDS, likely due to disrupted social progress. Yet in addition, face blindness can be challenging to live with individually and professionally. In rare situations, in photographs or mirrors, persons with facial blindness often struggle to recognize near relatives and even their own faces, Duchaine notes. They have difficulty following films and TV programs, as well.

While face covers can render facial identification challenging for anybody, and although masks do not cause true face blindness, as you would expect, they are not usually as big a concern for people with face blindness.

Duchaine said face masks make it more difficult to recognize others for people with face blindness. However, because many people with face blindness may not rely on the face as strongly, face masks might have less influence on them than individuals with regular face identification.

In reality, Duchaine recently went through responses from prosopagnosia patients who visited his research platform (the research team involves doctors from Harvard University and London University) and he came across a message from a woman who said she "loves COVID-19 masks."

It's because they don't inhibit her ability to identify faces. Rather they impair her ability to recognize objects." Only something to think about the next time you do a double-take on a pal sporting a mask.

However, a shocking positive lining to masks might have been uncovered through recent findings from the U.S. We may be rendered more desirable by them.

Collaborativeresearchbetween the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University College of Health asked participants to rate the attractiveness of a cross-section of people with and without masks. When wearing a surgical-style mask, they observed that 70 percent of allegedly "average-looking" individuals were more desirable.

According, research co-author and clinical psychologist David Sarwer said that either prominent characteristics or asymmetrical features of the lower face are camouflaged by the mask.

He explained that we see certain people as more attractive in reality since less attractive features are now concealed by the face's covering.

Sarwer suggests that another explanation is that the pupils, which are left visible, are essential indicators of facial beauty.

It's something we're trained from a very early age. Sarwer explained that we're taught to look them right in the eyes while we're talking to others as adults. Because we're definitely getting some of the socialization, as well as some ingrained biology that drives us to be drawn to the eyes of strangers.

ALSO READ:Which Offers the Best Protection? 8 Face Masks Ranked Based On Effectiveness

Check out more news and information onMedicine and Healthon Science Times.

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Wearing Face Masks Could Make It More Challenging for You to Identify People; What's The Catch? - Science Times


Video: 6 Blind People, Including a Lebanese, Were Given A Camera And Told To Take Pictures – The961

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

In an inspiring documentary called Not Everything Is Black, six blind people from different cities around the world were encouraged to carry a camera and take photos of anything they wanted.

The documentary, which was initially released in 2019 and recently premiered on YouTube, aimed to grasp an understanding of how blind people perceive reality.

In Lebanon, young and adventurous Ramy Jarjoura put the camera up to his face to capture a picture of a bird in a cage as though from his own eyes.

Birds are trapped in a cage in need of freedom, and like birds, a blind person needs to escape the cage inside themselves in order to fly amongst others, he said.

He also expressed that he could relate to birds pain because of the accident that caused his blindness.

You see, Ramy began to go blind at the age of 10 after he was accidentally shot in the head by a bird hunter in the woods nearby his house.

In 2010, after many surgeries to try to restore his sight, he became completely blind. But to Ramy, it was a blessing in disguise.

I became blind in the sense most people understand blindness. But from my perspective, 2010 was when I began to see, he said.

His acceptance of the pain of his situation transformed into the strength that keeps him going.

When asked if he would ever like to see again, he tells people that he forgets that he cant see because of all the blessings he experiences from blindness.

Follow Ramy and others on their inspiring journey to capture photos by using their senses to visualize the world around them and also get inside their heads.

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Video: 6 Blind People, Including a Lebanese, Were Given A Camera And Told To Take Pictures - The961


Prem in FIFTH kit clash this season as up to 100,000 colour blind viewers cant tell Sheff Utd and Chelsea a – The Sun

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

UP to 100,000 colour blind fans were left furious on Sunday after Chelsea wore their light blue away kit at Sheffield United, making the match almost impossible to watch.

For the fifth time this season, colour blind Premier League supporters were barely able to distinguish between the sides due to the bizarre choice of jersey.


Chelsea wore their light blue away kit to take on the Blades in their predominantly white strip in Sky Sports' live showdown.

But fans were left perplexed, believing the West Londoners' home strip - a much deeper shade of blue - would have been less of a clash.

Opting for the almost-white away jerseys made life tough for those who suffer from colour blindness.

The Colour Blind Awareness charity predicted around 100,000 viewers for the game - a 2-1 win for Chelsea - would have suffered from colour blindness.

Read our Chelsea live blog for the very latest news from the Bridge

And fans took to Twitter in their droves to complain.

One wrote: "I turned it on, saw 20 matching shirts and simply turned it off again.

"I wonder where I could inquire to get some refunds for streaming expenses, since they are actively making it impossible to watch what I pay for."

Another said: "Someone with a bigger brain has got to explain how this is easier to see than Chelsea playing in their home BLUE kit?"



A third sarcastically added: "Well done Chelsea. You really needed your almost white away kit for this fixture.

"The traditional blue would obviously have clashed with the mostly white shirts of Sheffield United."

Another viewer even called it 'blatant discrimination', tweeting: "It's been happening all season.

"So many kit clashes and absolutely nothing gets done about it, it's utterly shameful.

"People think colour blindness is a trivial issue. It's not.

"These kit clashes are ENTIRELY AVOIDABLE, that's the worst part of it. Blatant Discrimination!!'

It is the fifth time alone a Premier League clash has thrown up a colour-blindness issue, with Liverpool and Manchester United both featuring twice.

The game between the two rivals at Anfield last month was the most-watched Premier League game in history amongst Brits.

But of the five million who tuned in, a predicted 300,000 of those struggled to distinguish between the two sides.


Liverpool wore their red home strip, while Man Utd wore their 'earth green' alternate colours.

Reds and greens - particularly in similar shades - are almost impossible to distinguish between for those suffering from colour blindness.

That meant the red of Liverpool's socks merged with the green of the grass, while the deep shade of green in United's strip also clashed with that of the grass and the home side's red.

The Premier League has developed a 'colour blind friendly flag to help clubs pick the colours best-suited to all viewers.

However, the final say lies with the club.

And Colour Blindness Awareness spokesperson Kathryn Albany-Ward lashed out at the Premier League for their failure to act.

Albany-Ward said: "They know about this issue. They know it's disability discrimination and they are not doing enough about it."

Southampton vs Man Utd, Sheff Utd vs Southampton and Liverpool vs Crystal Palace have also been criticised for their lack of empathy to those suffering from colour blindness.

Around one in 12 men suffer from colour blindness, with the disability affecting roughly one in 200 women.

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Prem in FIFTH kit clash this season as up to 100,000 colour blind viewers cant tell Sheff Utd and Chelsea a - The Sun


No Color-Blind Road to Socialism in the U.S. – LA Progressive

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

The Democratic Party is not anti-racist because of its diversity; it is in fact becoming a more effective agent of a racist and imperialist state.

The year was 2011 and Occupy Wall Street protesters were gathering, and sleeping, at Zuccotti Park every single day to bring attention to the perils wrought on the 99 percent by the one percent. I was interning for a labor union at the time, and regularly visiting the Occupy Wall Street encampment to participate in its marches and rallies. The internship was coupled with labor studies courses that I attended with a mixture of union workers and students interested in the labor movement. A committed Occupy Wall Street organizer made an announcement in one of my courses that activists were planning a demonstration at Broadway Junction train station as part of a series of actions targeting the citys public transit riders. The organizer claimed that these actions had successfully brought thousands of people into the movement.

Broadway Junction is located in East New York, a majority Black neighborhood in Brooklyn. Occupy Wall Street protesters organizing at Zuccotti Park were overwhelmingly white and Occupy Wall Street organizers often treated racism as a peripheral problem that could be resolved through caucuses. I asked what kind of relationship Occupy organizers had developed with the Black community they hoped would join their rally. The answer was none. The demonstration ended up being a resounding failure, drawing just a fraction of the number of people that had turned out in more capital and student-intensive (white) areas of the city.

This experience provided a profound lesson in the failures of the politics of color-blindness. The Obama administration eventually deployed the FBI and DHS to assist local police in crushing Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Wall Street activists rendered politically homeless made up a large portion of the forces behind Bernie Sanders presidential campaign of 2016 and the push to elect Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, among others, to Congress two years later. These campaigns galvanized millions of young people and workers to vote on a platform of Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, student debt cancellation, and other universal policies.

That was the good. The bad was that racism and white supremacy remained a peripheral or non-existent issue in a struggle to elect progressive-sounding Democrats to implement a welfare state that the United States has never fully possessed in its two centuries-plus of existence. Just as Occupy Wall Street demanded nothing directly from the Obama administration, so too did newfound progressive Democratic Party activists largely avoid any kind of synthesis of eight years of Obama-rule. This allowed the capitalists in control of the party to wage an ideological war on mythical Bernie Bros and exploit color-blindness to their advantage. The masses of people supporting Sanders were all racist, we were told by the corporate media, because they did not specifically address issues particular to Black people.

The Democratic Party establishment began the work of normalizing endless war, austerity, and state sanctioned white supremacy.

Bernie Sanders did not help himself in this regard. While his policy agenda of Medicare for All and other universal policies would disproportionately benefit Black Americans, his unwillingness to publicly support reparations (despite no real commitment among the establishment of what form it would take) and his reluctance to focus campaign resources in heavily Black areas of the country opened a lane for his foes in the Democratic Party establishment to take the lead on the age-old debate of race versus class. Obama was summoned to whip the Democratic Party into shape , and the Black misleadership class coalesced around an anybody but Bernie political agenda. The elevation of Biden to the presidency, a barely functional modern-day corporate Dixiecrat, was the result of two consecutive primaries where Sanders stood silent as establishment Democrats took every measure possible to prevent his nomination.

It has been more than four years since Barack Obama was president of the United States yet his legacy continues to haunt the Left in ways that have gone unrecognized to the naked eye. Obama neutralized the left and consolidated the farce that the Democratic Party was an anti-racist institution because it was a diverse institution. At the same time, many in the Democratic Party, including large numbers of Black Americans, believed that white supremacy had been handed a significant defeat with the election of Barack Obama. This predictably angered many white Americans committed to the racist roots of American democracy. With the wages of whiteness diminishing, it was quite easy for Donald Trump to take hold over the White Mans GOP with a more enthusiastic brand of racist red meat posing as working class politics.

These developments were given birth on a bed of lies. The Democratic Party was not anti-racist because of its diversity; it was in fact becoming a more effective agent of a racist and imperialist state. Obama and his political minions helped fan the flames of heightening white anxiety by focusing all of their attention on the neutralization of the Left. And this didnt begin with the direct suppression of the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements or the broad assault on the left vis--vis Russiagate. It began when Obama was elected and the Democratic Party establishment began the work of normalizing endless war, austerity, and state sanctioned white supremacy to the point of rendering any kind of ideological coherence around these machinations of imperialism too difficult for so-called progressive forces to muster.

The Democratic Party has thus played a key role in both stoking color-blind racism and its ideological counterpart on the far right. Democrat-led anti-Russian racism justified U.S. aggression toward Russia and directly led to Trumps New Cold War on China and the Yellow Peril racism required to wage it. The mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, the mass transfer of military weaponry to localized occupation forces in the Black community otherwise known as the police, and the militarization of the African continent through the expansion AFRICOM are just a few of Obamas policies that helped expand the scope of racist wars of aggression at home and abroad. Over the course of two presidential terms, the most left-leaning section of the United States, Black America, became increasingly conservative and captive to the Democratic Partys political vise grip.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the first anti-establishment steps taken out of the crisis of capitalism in the United States are color-blind in character. But this doesnt make color-blindness correct. The Democratic Party is not an anti-racist institution and does not hold on a monopoly on the struggle against white supremacy. White supremacy forms the core of why the United States never had a welfare state to begin with and why, even at its height, the labor movement in the United States could barely reach half of the country let alone take state power. Furthermore, to paraphrase Dr. Charisse Burden-Stellys commentary on Luqman Nation, Black Americans have literally existed as capital in the form of slaves for longer than they have participated in the wage labor force in the United States. Continued racial disparities in healthcare, housing, incarceration, employment, and across all indicators of class antagonism cannot be fully explained without acknowledgement of the fact that the U.S. power structure has always been, and will always be, rooted in white supremacist domination.

The ongoing struggle for peace and socialism in the United States will need to wrestle the narrative of white supremacy away from the corporate jaws of the Democratic Party, which is fully invested in the profits enjoyed from the neoliberal decay of the capitalist system. This doesnt mean avoiding the question of white supremacy in the quest for an American unity that has never existed in any mass way in the United States.

It means engaging in struggle with the people directly in a manner that raises the contradictions of U.S. imperialism into full visibility and generates a real public debate. There will be no color-blind road to socialism in the United States but it is a forgone conclusion that white supremacy is the biggest impediment to actually traveling on a socialist path in the correct direction.

Danny HaiphongBlack Agenda Report

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No Color-Blind Road to Socialism in the U.S. - LA Progressive


Johnson & Johnson Vision Celebrates 20 Years of Helping Cataract Patients with the See More Campaign and Global Patient Story Search – PRNewswire

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

SANTA ANA, Calif., Feb. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnson & Johnson Vision*, a global leader in eye health and part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies**, today announces a month-long celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the TECNIS platform, the proprietary combination of materials and design on which Johnson & Johnson Vision IOLs (intraocular lenses) are built. Twenty years ago, a team of researchers and innovators created TECNIS, setting in motion two decades of breakthroughs, including the world's first aspherical lens and extended depth of focus lens. Today, notonly does TECNIS offer a distinct quality of vision1 that allows patients to "See More," it is also the broadest portfolio of IOLs worldwide, providing surgeons with a variety of solutions to treat different visual conditions.

"The innovation of the TECNIS platform was a revolutionary advancement in IOL design and composition that changed cataract surgery forever by introducing the concept of quality of vision," said Dr. Eric Donnenfeld, MD, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, New York University."*** "The TECNIS IOL was the first to employ negative spherical aberration and cancel the positive spherical aberration of the cornea achieving improved visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and reducing chromatic aberration. On behalf of my patients and my practice, congratulations to Johnson & Johnson Vision and TECNIS on 20 years of improving patient outcomes in cataract surgery."

"Many ophthalmologists can help restore their patients to 20/20 vision during their cataract procedureby addressing their patient's vision needs with a presbyopia-correcting IOL, a Toric IOL, or some combination of both. But quality vision is aboutso much more than the ability to see 20/20," said Rajesh K. Rajpal****, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Global Head of Clinical and Medical Affairs at Johnson & Johnson Vision. "It's about delivering clarity and contrast regardless of lighting or contrast conditions and sustaining that visual performance for the life of the lens. This month, we're celebrating TECNIS, because of the breakthrough 20 years ago, but also the breakthroughs it continues to enable today."

In celebration of 20 years, Johnson & Johnson Vision is launching the "See More" campaign to educate patients and physicians on what is possible with cataract surgery and how the TECNIS portfolio unlocks greater potential for patients. Additionally, Johnson & Johnson Vision is donating $20,000 to the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP)|Cure Blindness in honor of the organization's dedication to spread cataract awareness. HCP | Cure Blindness is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to eradicate preventable blindness in countries across the globe and has screened and treated more than 11.5 million people and performed more than 940,000 surgeries in 20 countries.

Johnson & Johnson Vision will continue to roll out the campaign throughout 2021 by launching a global story search. Stories inside the U.S. about how cataract surgery has enabled patients to "See More" via video, photo or text will be collected at; stories outside of the U.S. will be collected in accordance with the local and regional data privacy regulations. These "See More" patient stories will represent the true reach of the TECNIS platform.

"For two decades, we've dedicated ourselves to creating breakthroughs in cataract treatment and delivering the best optics available in terms of quality of vision. We believe the quality of the lens is only as good as the platform it is built on -- that's why TECNIS is both our legacy and our future. With the global expansion of our new TECNIS IOL lenses in 2021, we will be expanding access to the broadest IOL portfolio available on the market," said Nikki Sidi*****, Vice President, Global Strategic Marketing, Surgical Vision at Johnson & Johnson Vision. "We are excited to celebrate TECNIS 20th anniversary this yearand continue to offer more lenses to more patients than ever before."

In 2021, Johnson & Johnson Vision will continue to roll out new TECNIS IOLs across the globe including TECNIS Synergy IOL, TECNIS SymfonyIOL, and TECNIS Eyhance IOL, all available at launch with astigmatism correcting options under the next-generation Toric II platform.

Patients who want to learn more about the TECNISportfoliocan visit

About CataractsMore than 90% of people develop cataractsthe clouding and yellowing of the lens in the eyeby the age of 65.2 While part of the normal aging of the eye, left untreated, cataracts cause vision to deteriorate over time. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide, impacting more than 100 million eyes.3 Cataract surgery is one of the most common outpatient procedures performed today and has a success rate of approximately 98%.4 Today, cataract treatments can also offer patients vision correction, reducing or eliminating the need for glasses, in addition to removing the cataract.5,6

About TECNISThe TECNIS platform offers the broadest portfolio of IOLs to serve patients with a variety of vision conditions and lifestyles; and equip them with the solutions they need to see efficiently, clearly and comfortably. The TECNIS Family of IOLs includes monofocals, multifocals, extended depth of focus (EDOF), and IOLs for those with or without astigmatism. The industry leading platform, which offers a variety of options for different visual conditions and lifestyles, delivers a unique combination of material, manufacturing, and design to deliver exceptional visual outcomes across all distances.

Important Safety InformationWhile complications are rare, there are risks to routine cataract surgery. This is irrelevant to the lens you choose. The problems could be minor, temporary, or affect your vision permanently. These may include worsening of your vision, bleeding, or infection. Pre-existing diseases or conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, and previous eye trauma) may place you at higher risk of experiencing complications and/or more difficult recovery after routine cataract surgery. With some lenses, you may experience some loss in the sharpness of your vision, even with glasses. A small number of patients may want to have their IOL removed. This can be due to lens-related optical/visual symptoms. You should discuss all risks and benefits with your eye doctor before surgery.

About Johnson & Johnson Vision*At Johnson & Johnson Vision*, part of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies**, we have a bold ambition: to change the trajectory of eye health worldwide. Through our operating companies, we deliver innovation that enables eye care professionals to create better outcomes for patients throughout their lives, with products and technologies that address unmet needs including refractive error, cataracts, and dry eye. In communities with greatest need, we work in collaboration to expand access to quality eye care, and we are committed to helping people see better, connect better, live better. Visit us, follow @JNJVision on Twitter,Johnson & Johnson Vision on LinkedIn, and@JNJVision on Facebook.

About Johnson & JohnsonMedical Devices Companies**At Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, we are helping people live their best lives. Building on more than a century of expertise, we tackle pressing healthcare challenges, and take bold steps that lead to new standards of care while improving people's healthcare experiences. In surgery, orthopaedics, vision, and interventional solutions, we are helping to save lives and paving the way to a healthier future for everyone, everywhere.

*Johnson & Johnson Vision represents the products and services of Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., and the affiliates of both.

**The Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies comprise the surgery, orthopedics, vision, and interventional solutions businesses within Johnson & Johnson's Medical Devices segment.

***Dr. Eric Donnenfeld is a paid consultant of Johnson & Johnson Vision, Inc.

****Dr. Rajesh K. Rajpal is an employee of Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision, Inc., serving as Head of Clinical and Medical Affairs across both the Surgical Vision and Vision Care organizations.

*****Nikki Sidi is an employee of Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision, Inc., serving as Vice President of Global Strategic Marketing across Surgical Vision at Johnson & Johnson Vision.

Johnson & Johnson Vision, 2021. All rights reserved.

1Data on File. Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision, Inc. 20152Kellogg Eye Center. Cataract. Health Organization. Blindness and Impairment. Health Initiative, Common Eye Disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About Vision. Will I Need Glasses After Cataract Surgery? SS, et. al. Effectiveness of multifocal and monofocal intraocular lenses for cataract surgery and lens replacement: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2019 May;257(5):863-875. doi: 10.1007/s00417-018-04218-6

SOURCE Johnson & Johnson Vision

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Johnson & Johnson Vision Celebrates 20 Years of Helping Cataract Patients with the See More Campaign and Global Patient Story Search - PRNewswire


City of Hope Renames World-Class Research Center the Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute – Business Wire

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

DUARTE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--City of Hope, a world-renowned independent cancer and diabetes research and treatment center, today announced it has renamed its preeminent diabetes research center the Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute, in honor of its longtime director and research pioneer. Riggs scientific achievements include developing the technology that led to the first synthetic human insulin a breakthrough that enabled mass production of insulin for people with diabetes. That discovery, which jumpstarted what is now a $500 billion global biotech industry, was followed by numerous firsts in the field of biomedical science. Today, synthetic insulin is used regularly by hundreds of millions of people.

Riggs, the Samuel Rahbar Chair in Diabetes & Drug Discovery, also developed recombinant DNA technology capable of producing humanized monoclonal antibodies that are the foundation of modern treatments for diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, blindness and a host of other diseases. These therapies include trastuzumab (commercial name: Herceptin), rituximab (commercial name: Rituxan), pembrolizumab (commercial name: Keytruda) and many others that are some of the worlds most widely used cancer drugs.

Arthur Riggs is a true visionary and a scientific giant, said Robert Stone, president and CEO of City of Hope and the Helen and Morgan Chu Chief Executive Officer Distinguished Chair. Dr. Riggs has been essential to the institutes growth and accomplishments over five decades, as a researcher, discoverer, mentor and major donor. His contributions to biomedical research have transformed the lives of countless people living with serious diseases and his mark on City of Hope is an indelible one that will continue on in the institute that now bears his name.

At City of Hope, in addition to dedicating himself to scientific pursuits, Riggs has quietly contributed nearly all of the wealth from his discoveries to support leading-edge research toward the development of new treatments for the betterment of human health.

Over the past 30 years, Riggs has donated more than $310 million to City of Hope. His generosity culminated in a gift of $100 million in January 2021 that will help fund the continuation of research that has been his passion for more than half a century.

Until now, Riggs has insisted that his gifts remain anonymous so that any attention would not detract from his work. He elected to make his philanthropy public now in the hope of encouraging other donors to join City of Hopes fight against diabetes and cancer, especially at a time when new therapeutic discoveries are needed more than ever.

I came to City of Hope because the environment here offers exactly that hope for people with diabetes, cancer and many other serious diseases, Riggs said. I believe in the promise of our work at City of Hope so strongly that one day, probably sooner than most think, well create a world without diabetes. Yet, we will realize the full potential of this important work only through the generosity of many other donors who will choose to join us.

The Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute is one of the worlds foremost scientific organizations dedicated to investigating the biology of diabetes and its treatment. It houses eight departments, including The Wanek Family Project for Type 1 Diabetes, and continues Riggs work under its newly appointed director, Debbie C. Thurmond, Ph.D., the Ruth B. & Robert K. Lanman Chair in Gene Regulation & Drug Discovery Research.

It has been a humbling honor to assume responsibility for this institute that Dr. Riggs so purposefully and painstakingly built, Thurmond said. Its entirely fitting that it should carry his name as we carry on the work he began for the benefit of people with diabetes. His philanthropy is an extension of the generosity of spirit he has shown to me and everyone else who has ever walked through these doors, and his impact will be with us for many years to come.

About City of HopeCity of Hope is an independent biomedical research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a leader in bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy such as CAR T cell therapy. City of Hopes translational research and personalized treatment protocols advance care throughout the world. Human synthetic insulin, monoclonal antibodies and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs are based on technology developed at the institution. AccessHope, a wholly owned subsidiary, was launched in 2019 and is dedicated to serving employers and their health care partners by providing access to City of Hopes exceptional cancer expertise. A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope is ranked among the nations Best Hospitals in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Its main campus is located near Los Angeles, with additional locations throughout Southern California and in Arizona. For more information about City of Hope, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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Pilots complain of laser lights targeting night flights – New Zealand Herald

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Lasers can cause temporary blindness in pilots, aviation school CEO Ashok Poduval says. Photo / 123RF


Massey University's aviation school is warning people to stop shining lasers into planes at night because it could cause a pilot to crash.

School of Aviation chief executive Ashok Poduval said the lasers could cause temporary blindness.

"When they're flying at night you need to keep eyes adjusted to darkness and not have any bright lights around you, so when suddenly there's a flash of light your night vision is either completely reduced or completely removed."

Poduval said it was difficult to track down who was shining the beams up at the plane but police and the Civil Aviation Authority have been notified.

He said if anyone was caught, they could face charges for interfering with an aircraft.

Flight instructor Shannon Mickleburgh told Stuff pilots could get flash blindness where they could not see anything.

"It's quite disorientating when it does happen.

"The little laser on the ground ends up being quite bright by the time it makes it up to the aircraft.

"You've got a glass canopy so everything just reflects. It's extremely bright when it actually is on the canopy itself at night because you get accustomed to the darkness and all of a sudden you've got a bright light."

- RNZ, Stuff

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AMD Awareness Month sheds light on the leading cause of severe vision loss in older adults – Canada NewsWire

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

AMD affects the central vision and occurs when cells in the macula - a small area of the retina at the back of the eye - break down or deteriorate. While peripheral vision is not affected, one loses the sharp, straight-ahead vision that is necessary for driving, reading, recognizing faces, and looking at fine detail.

"Early on, there may not be any noticeable vision loss from age-related macular degeneration, especially if only one eye is affected, but your eye doctor can spot the most common signs before it gets worse," says Dr. Colin Mann, President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. "With treatment, we can delay the progression and prevent further vision loss in about 90 per cent of cases, so it's critical to have comprehensive eye exams at least once a year, particularly the older you are."

While age is the biggest factor, the causes of macular degeneration includegenetics and a mixture of other health and environmental factors. Particularly at risk are those with blue eyes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Smokers, people who are overweight or have a family history of the disease may also be more likely to develop AMD.

Depending on which type of age-related macular degeneration someone has, vision loss either happens slowly or quickly. Nine out of 10 people with AMD have the atrophic or 'Dry' type, which usually progresses slowly over many years. On the other hand, 'Wet' AMD is less common but more serious, and can lead to vision loss quickly. Delays can result in poorer outcomes, so treating Wet AMD is time-sensitive.

Symptoms of AMD

In advanced stages, the more common symptoms of macular degeneration may include:

Early AMD changes can be detected at home by checking your vision in each eye with the use of an Amsler grid.

Treatment While there's no treatment for Dry AMD yet, a high-dose vitamin regimen hasbeen shown to reduce the rate of which people with advanced dry macular degeneration develop Wet AMD, and there are several promising drugs are undergoing clinical trials. Wet AMD is more rare, and is most commonly treated through injections directly into the eye with drugs that are very effective at causing the abnormal blood vessels to stop growing and leaking. The frequency of injections taper off after an initial period but lifelong treatment is required to prevent recurrence and vision loss.

Learn more about AMD, or one of the other four serious eye diseases, by visiting

About Canadian Ophthalmological SocietyThe Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) is the national, recognized authority on eye and vision care in Canada. As eye physicians and surgeons, we are committed to assuring the provision of optimal medical and surgical eye care for all Canadians by promoting excellence in ophthalmology and by providing services to support our members in practice. Our membership includes over 900 ophthalmologists and 200 ophthalmology residents. We work collaboratively with government, other national and international specialty societies, our academic communities (ACUPO), our provincial partners and affiliates and other eye care professionals and patient groups to advocate for health policy in Canada in the area of eye and vision health. COS is an accredited, award-winning provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and is an affiliate of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). For more information, visit

SOURCE Canadian Ophthalmological Society

For further information: Elizabeth Glassen, [emailprotected], 647.309.0141, BlueSky Communications

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AMD Awareness Month sheds light on the leading cause of severe vision loss in older adults - Canada NewsWire


Lisa Ilboudo Nbi: Studying Food Security, Environmental Changes and Migration in West Africa – State of the Planet

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

This Q&A is part of a short series highlighting some of the Earth Institutes women scientists as part of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11. Read more about the day and our related blog posts here.

Elisabeth Ilboudo Nbi sits by one of the major dams of the Sondr-Est Pastoral Zone in the Center-South region of Burkina Faso in the rainy season. Livestock rely on this water for their subsistence, especially at the onset of the dry season when there is less water in ponds near settlements. On average, the rainy season lasts between May-October, but these dates vary annually. The site receives about 880-900 mm of rainfall annually, but this also varies.Photo courtesy Elisabeth Ilboudo Nbi

As a human ecologist, Elisabeth Ilboudo Nbi looks at the impact of the environment on people. Also, how people are adapting to environmental change.

After graduating with a masters in international development and social change, Ilboudo Nbi observed that one of the reasons why development projects have failed in the past was because they didnt take the time to work closely with local communities. I want to be the type of development practitioner who can work with local communities and thats why the major I chose during my Ph.D. was anthropology, said Ilboudo Nbi.

Participatory mapping of pastoral resources, using satellite imagery. This was the first time these women saw a photograph of their village from above. They had never seen a map either, but after Ilboudo Nbi and her colleagues helped them identify key features (i.e., dams, roads), they were very successful at mapping key resources. Photo courtesy Elisabeth Ilboudo Nbi

While working with her advisor, who focused on rural communities perceptions of climate change and the impact of climate change on their livelihoods, she decided to further delve into the interaction between the environment and communities.

After completing her Ph.D., Ilboudo Nbi won a competitive Earth Institute post-doctoral fellowship to study food security trends, environmental changes, the drivers of human migration, and climate services for pastoral communities in West Africa. She recently completed this research at Columbia Universitys International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), and now works at theInternational Development Research Centre in Canada.

In a conversation with State of the Planet, she spoke about her observations in the field as a human ecologist.

Can you tell us about your research on the relationship between the re-greening of the West African Sahel (a semi-arid region that extends from Senegal to Sudan) and food security trends?

The Sahel region of West Africa used to be considered a desertification hotspot. But in the last decades, studies have shown that the area has been re-greening. We are delving into what is the impact of this visible re-greening on food security and it is a long-term project. But for the past two years, we looked at climate shocks and their impact on food security.

We wanted to do this research work in Burkina Faso (a landlocked country in West Africa that has endured recurring droughts) but due to security reasons caused by political unrest in the country, we focused most of our research work in Senegal. We are trying to find out how climate shocks impact food security in the country, and also to identify households that are more or less food secure. I conducted this first study with my mentor, Alessandra Giannini, a climate scientist at IRI, in collaboration with Diaba Ba, the head of Vulnerability Analysis Mapping Unit in the country office of the World Food Programme in Senegal.

Landscape in Sondr-Est after the first rains. Emaciated livestock that survived the tough dry season starts to access limited water and growing pastures. Photo courtesy Elisabeth Ilboudo Nbi

What were some of the findings from your research work in the last two years that surprised you the most?

The southern part of Senegal is more humid but its also the least food secure area in the country. This was surprising for me because you would normally expect a humid region to receive good rainfall and satisfactory agricultural production. But thats not what we saw in Senegal. One of the plausible explanations for this is the ongoing Casamance conflict between the government of Senegal and natives of this region, who are ethnically and religiously distinct from the rest of the country and are pressing for their independence. Another possible explanation is poor access to southern areas in terms of transportation. South Senegal is far away from urban centers. The Casamance region of southern Senegal is actually separated from the rest of the country by the Gambia, which makes reaching Dakar, where the economy is concentrated, complicated.

What could be some of the reasons why the Sahel region has been experiencing re-greening?

At a small-scale level, farmers in the Sahel have taken up initiatives to grow more trees and there have been other local water and soil conservation initiatives as well. This pattern of re-greening is very patchy. It is only since the last 30 years when rainfall has started improving in this region of Africa. But when you look at annual rainfall from one year to another one, it varies. We plan on going to areas that have witnessed some re-greening to learn more about these local water and soil conservation initiatives, and also visit other areas that are still arid, to gain a better understanding of the ground realities. When I was still in my Ph.D. program and conducted fieldwork in a community in Burkina Faso where locals were involved in initiatives for the conservation of water and soil, the locals claimed that famines, as they experienced them in the past, cannot happen anymore because of their increasing access to early warning systems and adaptation strategies. So definitely there is a relationship between using these adaptation techniques and also having better agricultural productivity.

Your Ph.D. dissertation was on famers and herders livelihoods in your home country, Burkina Faso. From your fieldwork, what do you think are some of the biggest challenges that farmer/herder livelihoods face in Burkina Faso?

Some of the biggest challenges are rainfall variability, population pressure and access to adaptation resources.

Herders used to be more mobile. They moved seasonally along with their livestock from dry places in the north to more humid areas in the south. Following major droughts in the 1970s-80s, the government decided to resettle the herders in the southern part of the country because of farmer-herder conflicts during seasonal migrations and the effect of droughts on livestock in the herders settlements in the north. Southern Burkina Faso used to be sparsely populated because it was humid and infested by parasitic worms (Onchocerca volvulus) that cause a disease known as onchocerciasis, or river blindness. By the time the government succeeded in eradicating river blindness, more people were open to living in that region. They were also investing a lot in these areas to improve intensive agriculture and also intensive herding. So, herders could just stay in one place and become easier to manage and access for development projects.

Now, there is population pressure in the south and land is disputed between native farmers and migrant herders. The herders want to protect the land that was given to them, and the farmers now also claim this land as part of the ancestral land. And on top of this, there is rainfall variability and they have been experiencing recurrent floods in certain areas. There is declining resource availability in terms of grass for livestock and available agricultural land for farmers. The herders livestock keeps entering fields and there is an increase in the number of conflicts between farmers and herders.

A focus group with Fulani women discussing natural resource management in times of rainfall variability. Photo courtesy Elisabeth Ilboudo Nbi

How might these conflicts be mitigated?

In order to adapt to these changes, these communities need access to suitable financial and technical resources.

In terms of policymaking, governments need to avoid putting farmers and herders in one category. These communities are ethnically and sometimes religiously different from each other and are involved in different livelihood activities.

Its true that nowadays one way of adapting is mixing livelihoods. So you find a lot of agro-pastoralists: people who are doing both, cultivating and herding. But for instance, when herders adopt agriculture, their way of cultivating is different from conventional farming in that area. They tend to have smaller size fields, grow fodder and/or dual purpose crops with the aim to feed their livestock and themselves.

Its important to note that these communities also belong to different ethnic groups. So, when we bring them all together, we cannot always have efficient interventions. In terms of making new policies, it is important to consider these differences and design targeted policies and interventions, even if this can be challenging.

I give myself the mission to show policy makers and development practitioners that these communities are different and we cannot just have a one-size-fits all solutions approach. At the IRI, my work involved pastoralists because these communities are underserved in terms of climate services.

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Vision researchers honored by End Blindness 2020 | Penn Today – Penn Today

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Three University of Pennsylvania researchers have been honored by The Sanford and Sue Greenberg Prize to End Blindness by 2020 for their research, which led to the first Food and Drug Administration-approved gene therapy for a genetic disease. Gustavo D. Aguirre of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Jean Bennett and Albert M. Maguire of the Perelman School of Medicine, together with William Hauswirth of the University of Florida, are recipients of the Outstanding Achievement Prize, to be awarded in a virtual ceremony today.

The four scientists share a $1 million prize, funds that will go to support further laboratory and clinical research that advances vision science. Together, their workgoing from an animal model of disease to human clinical trialsled to an FDA-approved gene therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) caused by a mutation in the RPE65 gene, a retinal disease that causes visual impairments beginning in infancy. Now commercialized and used routinely, this treatment has reversed blindness and spared the vision of children and adults around the world.

The researchers are among 13 recipients of a total of $3 million from the End Blindness by 2020 initiative, originated by Sanford Greenberg, an

inventor, entrepreneur, and investor who serves as chairman of the board of the Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Eye Institute and who lost his sight at the age of 19 due to disease.

Gustavo D. Aguirre is professor of medical genetics and ophthalmology in the School of Veterinary Medicine. His internationally renowned research, generated during more than four decades, has investigated the genetic basis of a variety of inherited vision disorders, including LCA, Best disease, achromatopsia, and retinitis pigmentosa. His work on novel gene therapy approaches to treatment, which deliver to the eye a functional copy of a gene that is otherwise dysfunctional, has restored vision in animal models of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa and LCA. Aguirre, who earned his V.M.D. and Ph.D. from Penn, is a fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and a member of the National Academy of Medicine, College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a recipient of the Louis Braille Award, Proctor Medal, and Foundation Fighting Blindess Board of Directors Award, among other honors.

Jean Bennett is the F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology in the Perelman School of Medicine. She is an internationally-recognized pioneer in gene therapy and has dedicated her career to restoring eyesight in the blind. Bennett earned a Ph.D. in zoology and cell and development biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a medical degree from Harvard University, where she met her future husband and research collaborator, Albert M. Maguire. She has developed a number of strategies for gene therapy-mediated treatments for retinal disease. Her research is focused on the molecular genetics of inherited retinal degenerations in order to develop rational approaches for treating blindness. In addition to the eye, projects in Bennett's laboratory target other diseases/organs suffering from mutations in cilia proteins, including the ear and the kidney.

Albert M. Maguire is a professor of ophthalmology in the Perelman School of Medicine and an attending physician in the Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He earned his medical degree from Harvard University, completed an internship in surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital, a residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and a fellowship at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oaks, Michigan. Maguire specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric retinal diseases. His research interests involve the development of treatments for incurable retinal degenerative disease, including LCA.

The hourlong streamed ceremony, freely accessible at, will feature Art Garfunkel, Margaret Atwood, Al Gore, Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, and musical performances. It will also feature a tribute to the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a longtime supporter of the End Blindness movement, including exclusive footage of Ginsburg reading from Hello Darkness, My Old Friend, the memoir of Sanford Greenberg.

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Vision researchers honored by End Blindness 2020 | Penn Today - Penn Today


Kodi Lee Teams up with Foundation Fighting Blindness and Two Blind Brothers for Music to our Eyes Livestream Music Series – PRNewswire

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

"Kodi's inspirational tenacity and spirit is exactly the empowerment the Foundation wants to provide our community."

Kodi's Music to Our Eyes performance will feature a wide variety of covers from his musical repertoire, including You Are The Reason by Calum Scott and Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me by Elton John. Kodi will also perform holiday favorites, Winter Wonderland by Johnny Mathis and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town by Michael Bubl.

In between sets, Jason Menzo, chief operating officer at the Foundation Fighting Blindness, will interview Kodi and his siblings, Derek and Kayla, about their experiences with Kodi's vision loss and discuss his determination to achieve his dreams no matter what obstacles come his way. Event registration is free, but attendees will have the opportunity to contribute, as all net proceeds will go towards the Foundation's mission.

"We're excited to be collaborating with Two Blind Brothers again for a livestream musical performance with Kodi Lee," says Jason Menzo, COO at the Foundation. "Kodi's inspirational tenacity and spirit is exactly the empowerment the Foundation wants to provide for the blind and low vision community."

For more information and to register for a reminder about this event, visit:

About the Foundation Fighting BlindnessEstablished in 1971, the Foundation Fighting Blindness is the world's leading private funding source for retinal degenerative disease research. The Foundation has raised more than $800 million toward its mission of accelerating research for preventing, treating, and curing blindness caused by the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases including: retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and Stargardt disease. Visit for more information.

Media Contacts:Chris AdamsVice President, Marketing & Communications[emailprotected] (410) 423-0585

SOURCE Foundation Fighting Blindness

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Glaucoma Therapeutics The market is expected to see a surge in growth | Allergan , Merck , Novartis – The Courier

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Glaucoma refers to the group of conditions characterized by optic nerve damage, visual field loss, and secondary to retinal ganglion cell damage, which may lead to death. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness: 2016, glaucoma is second leading cause of blindness and leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. The most common types of glaucoma are Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) and Primary Angle Closure Glaucoma (PACG). Moreover, PACG is most common in South-East Asian population while POAG is most common in white Caucasians and individuals of African origin. PACG is associated with a high risk of blindness as compared to POAG.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases which result in damage to the optic nerve and cause vision loss. The most common type is open-angle (wide angle, chronic simple) glaucoma, in which the drainage angle for fluid within the eye remains open, with less common types including closed-angle (narrow angle, acute congestive) glaucoma and normal-tension glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma develops slowly over time and there is no pain. Peripheral vision may begin to decrease, followed by central vision, resulting in blindness if not treated. Closed-angle glaucoma can present gradually or suddenly. The sudden presentation may involve severe eye pain, blurred vision, mid-dilated pupil, redness of the eye, and nausea. Vision loss from glaucoma, once it has occurred, is permanent. Eyes affected by glaucoma are referred to as being glaucomatous.

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By Top Industry Players:Allergan ,Merck ,Novartis ,Pfizer ,Santen Pharmaceuticals ,Valeant Pharmaceuticals

Risk factors for glaucoma include increasing age, high pressure in the eye, a family history of glaucoma, and use of steroid medication. For eye pressures, a value of greater than 21 mmHg or 2.8 kPa is often used, with higher pressures leading to a greater risk. However, some may have high eye pressure for years and never develop damage. Conversely, optic nerve damage may occur with normal pressure, known as normal-tension glaucoma. The mechanism of open-angle glaucoma is believed to be slow exit of aqueous humor through the trabecular meshwork, while in closed-angle glaucoma the iris blocks the trabecular meshwork. Diagnosis is by a dilated eye examination.Often, the optic nerve shows an abnormal amount of cupping.

If treated early, it is possible to slow or stop the progression of disease with medication, laser treatment, or surgery. The goal of these treatments is to decrease eye pressure. A number of different classes of glaucoma medication are available. Laser treatments may be effective in both open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma. A number of types of glaucoma surgeries may be used in people who do not respond sufficiently to other measures. Treatment of closed-angle glaucoma is a medical emergency.

Product Type Coverage (Market Size & Forecast, Major Company of Product Type etc.):

ProstaglandinsAlpha AgonistBeta BlockersCarbonic Anhydrase InhibitorCholinergicCombined Medication

Application Coverage (Market Size & Forecast, Different Demand Market by Region, Main Consumer Profile etc.):

HospitalsOphthalmic ClinicsAmbulatory Surgical Centers

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Glaucoma Therapeutics The market is expected to see a surge in growth | Allergan , Merck , Novartis - The Courier


Nyctalopia: All You Need to Know About Night Blindness – News18

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Night blindness, also known as nyctalopia, is a type of vision impairment that makes it difficult to read or see in dim light or at night. It is not a disease itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Although the name suggests blindness during the night, it usually means difficulty in reading or driving in a dusky environment, which can happen any time during the day.

Difficulty to see in a dark room is usually normal but in nyctalopia, it is more strenuous. It can even prevent you from pointing out the stars in the night sky. Night blindness may make it difficult to recognize faces or locate obstacles in a dimly-lit room. Your vision could also take longer than usual to adjust to the transition from darkness to bright light.

Causes of night blindness

Night blindness may be caused by a variety of underlying causes including the following:

Treatment for night blindness

It is important to know the exact cause of the condition for an appropriate intervention to be planned. The treatment for nyctalopia may vary from simply getting a new pair of prescription glasses or switching glaucoma medications to surgery if the cause is cataracts.

A proper balance diet may also be advised if the condition is caused due to a dietary imbalance. Vitamin and mineral requirements may be fulfilled by supplementation, depending on your doctors recommendation. If a retinal disease is discovered, the treatment will be carried out by an ophthalmologist depending on the type and severity of the condition.

Unfortunately, treatment of genetic conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome that cause nyctalopia are yet to be developed.

Prevention and precautions

There is no way to prevent night blindness when it is caused by genetic conditions or birth defects. However, in the case of other causes, you can take the following measures to reduce the risk of developing the condition:

For more information, read our article on Night Blindness.

Health articles on News18 are written by, Indias first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

Nyctalopia: All You Need to Know About Night Blindness - News18


RetinalGeniX Has Engaged New York Investor Relations Firm Amato and Partners, LLC – PRNewswire

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

PETALUMA, Calif., Dec. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --RetinalGeniXTM Technologies, Inc. announced today the engagement of Amato and Partnersto provide Investor Relations services. RetinalGeniXTM Technologies is a private California-based medical technology company focused on prevention of blindness through mass medical retinal screening and patient home monitoring.

RetinalGeniX is moving forward with a strategic investor relations plan that will be supported by Amato and Partners. Amato and Partners is an independent Investor Relations firm headquartered in New York City. The firm has a strong and well-recognized brand in the U.S. capital markets. The Amato team has over 40 years of experience developing and executing investor relations programs and a proven track record of achieving results both for private and public companies.

"Amato and Partners provides experienced advice and established Wall Street relationships that will cultivate company visibility with market participants including equity research analysts, investment banks and appropriate potential investors," said Jerry Katzman, M.D., RetinalGeniX's chief executive officer. "We very much look forward to working together."

About RetinalGeniX Technologies, Inc. RetinalGeniX Technologies, Inc. is a privately held emerging medical device company focused on preventing blindness through a cost-effective Mass Retinal Screening Device and a Patient Real-Time Home Monitoring Imaging & Physician Alert System. (A) The Mass Retinal Screening device provides retinal imaging that captures a 200 FOV without pupil dilation and detects the earliest stages of diabetic retinopathy to prevent blindness. This device requires submission to the FDA's 510(k) approval process. (B) RetinalGeniX's second product is RetinalCam, the first in-home, self-monitoring device providing real-time ocular and retinal imaging and streams video to the physician. The technology enables high-risk individuals to send their physician digitized retinal images and streaming video easily from their home. This second device does not require submission to the FDA's 510(k) approval.

Safe Harbor Statement This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements that relate to the advancement and development of the Mass Retinal Screening Device and a Patient Real-Time Home Monitoring Imaging & Physician Alert Systemand other information that is not historical information. When used herein, words such as "anticipate", "being", "will", "plan", "may", "continue", and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In addition, any statements or information that refer to expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, performance or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, including any underlying assumptions, are forward-looking. All forward-looking statements are based upon RetinalGeniX's current expectations and various assumptions. Voltron believes there is a reasonable basis for its expectations and beliefs, but they are inherently uncertain. RetinalGenix may not realize its expectations, and its beliefs may not prove correct. Actual results could differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, without limitation, market conditions. Consequently, forward-looking statements should be regarded solely as RetinalGeniX's current plans, estimates and beliefs. Investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. RetinalGenix cannot guarantee future results, events, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Voltron does not undertake and specifically declines any obligation to update, republish, or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or circumstances or to reflect the occurrences of unanticipated events, except as may be required by law.

Contact:Jerry Katzman, M.D.Chief Executive Officer(415) 578-9583[emailprotected]

SOURCE RetinalGeniX Technologies, Inc.

RetinalGeniX Has Engaged New York Investor Relations Firm Amato and Partners, LLC - PRNewswire


Researchers Discover Clue to How to Protect Neurons and Encourage Their Growth – UC San Diego Health

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Many neurodegenerative conditions, from glaucoma to Alzheimers disease, are characterized by injury to axons the long, slender projections that conduct electrical impulses from one nerve cell to another, facilitating cellular communications. Injury to axons often leads to neuronal impairment and cell death.

Researchers know that inhibiting an enzyme called dual leucine zipper kinase (DLK) appears to robustly protect neurons in a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases models, but DLK also inhibits axonal regeneration. Until now, there have been no effective methods to modify genes to improve both the long-term survival of neurons and promote regeneration.

In a paper published December 14, 2020 in PNAS, a multi-university team led by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health identified another family of enzymes called germinal cell kinase four kinases (GCK-IV kinases) whose inhibition is robustly neuroprotective, while also permitting axon regeneration, making it an attractive therapeutic approach for treating at some neurodegenerative diseases.

We basically figured out that there are a set of genes that, when inhibited, allow optic nerve cells to survive and regenerate, said senior author Derek Welsbie, MD, PhD, associate professor of ophthalmology in the Viterbi Family Department of Ophthalmology at Shiley Eye Institute.

Example of retinal ganglion cells with axons and dendrites in the retina of a healthy eye.

Prior to this work, the field knew how to get these cells to survive, but not regenerate. Conversely, there are ways to promote regeneration, but then the survival was rather modest. Of course, for a successful strategy of vision restoration, you need both and this is a step in that direction.

The researchers conducted a series of screens after first creating retinal ganglion cells (RGC) from human stem cells. RGCs are a type of neuron located near the inner surface of the retina of the eye. They receive visual information from photoreceptors and collectively help transmit that information to the brain.

The first screen involved testing a group of well-studied chemicals to assess their ability to increase the survival of RGCs; the second to measure the ability of chemicals to promote regeneration.

We then used a machine-learning technique to understand why certain compounds were active while others were not and it identified these key genes, said Welsbie.

The discovery that these genes improved RGC survival was not surprising, he said. However, you would have predicted that they (like DLK) would have blocked regeneration when inhibited, not promote regeneration. That was definitely a surprise. It highlights one of the advantages of discovery-based science using high-throughput screening: By testing many agents at once, we can find identify overlooked genes that might not have been thought to play a role.

Welsbie and colleagues focused their work on RGCs because they are interested in optic neuropathies, such as glaucoma. Most people think only about glaucoma in terms of eye pressure, Welsbie said. But eye pressure is only part of the problem. At its core, glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive loss of RGCs and their axons, leading to measurable structural and functional damage to the optic nerve, visual impairment and blindness.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 3 million Americans have glaucoma. It is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Welsbie cautioned that its not yet known whether these findings extend to other neuron types, but he noted that the work suggests strong therapeutic possibilities.

Co-authors include: Amit K. Patel, Risa M. Broyer, Cassidy D. Lee, Tianlun Lu, Mai T. Vu, Karl J. Wahlin and Robert N. Weinreb, all at UC San Diego; Mikaela J. Louie, Anna La Torre and Yang Hu, UC Davis; Hassan Al-Ali, John L. Bixby and Vance P. Lemmon, University of Miami; Katherine L. Mitchell and Vinod Jaskula-Ranga and Donald J. Zack, Johns Hopkins University; Xin Duan, UC San Francisco; Santiago Vilar, Truvitech, Miami.

Funding for this research came, in part, from the National Institutes of Health (grant 1RO1EY029342), Research to Prevent Blindness, E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation, Brightfocus Foundation, Fight for Sight Foundation, the Glaucoma Research Foundation Catalyst for the Cure and the Tushinsky family.

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Researchers Discover Clue to How to Protect Neurons and Encourage Their Growth - UC San Diego Health


They thought their gene therapy failed. Instead, it spawned a medical mystery – Endpoints News

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Jos-Alain Sahel was on a rare vacation in Portugal in the spring of 2018 when his phone rang with grim news: The gene therapy he had worked on for a decade, a potential cure for a rare form of blindness, had failed in a pivotal trial.

In the first minute, I was very disappointed, Sahel says. I said, well OK, its not working.

A failed trial in drug development is crushing but not unexpected, a tradeoff of doing business in biology. You examine the full data, go back to the drawing board and either abandon the effort or tweak and try again. Sahel, founder of four companies and the longtime head of the Vision Institute of Paris, was used to the process. But this time, when the full data came, he was bewildered.

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They thought their gene therapy failed. Instead, it spawned a medical mystery - Endpoints News


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