[AI] Fw: News To share across the Everyone in Visually Impaired Community

Pradeep banakar pradeep_banakar at yahoo.co.in
Sun Aug 12 06:46:53 EDT 2007


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "BlindNews Mailing List" <blindnews at blindprogramming.com>
To: <blindnews at blindprogramming.com>; <blindnews-owner at blindprogramming.com>
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 8:26 PM
Subject: News To share across the Everyone in Visually Impaired Community


>
> Dear People,
>
> I am a researcher of a newly established Foundation of learning research
> in Chess, a Researcher in Chess based learning practices from India
> I have been closely working with few blind students over last one year
> to develop a chess based project that will potentially use the Visually
> Impaired with sighted Students and improve the ability of the sighted
> students.
>
> The Concept was built into full-fledged experiments with differently
> impaired students, where we experimentally showed that sighted students
> could improve playing chess with the analysis of Visually Impaired.
>
> I have recently, submitted these results to an international Conference
> at University of Aberdeen, Scotland and will currently be presenting the
> paper on 30 August,2007.
>
> I am hoping that I would have some people helping me continuing Research
> on a larger group. Presently, I was able to reach few visually impaired
> chess players to prove my Concept. However, with the success of this
> model, visually impaired students can identify a way to get into schools
> to synergize the development with Sighted.
>
> I hope this mail reaches as many organizations, to help me develop into
> a Full fledged project, where I would be able to offer some service to
> this society.
>
> Where we can synergize and strengthen the Society with the Visually
> Impaired equally contributing to the development.
>
>
> With regards,
>
> Malola Prasath T S,
>
>
>
> I am copying my Abstract of the paper:
>
> Synergies of Analysis of Visually Impaired with Synthesis of Thought
> Processes in Chess
>
> Malola Prasath T S Radha Raghavan Malola Priya S  IM Sundarajan Kidambi
>
> Foundation for Learning Research in Chess, India
> 42/7 Janakiraman Street, West Mambalam, Chennai, India- 600017
>
> malolaprasath at gmail.com radharaghavan at gmail.com malolapriya at hotmail.com
> sundarkidambi at gmail.com
>
> Abstract:
>
> Synergies of Analysis of Visually Impaired with Synthesis of thought
> processes in chess
>
>
> We focus on how blind students can connect to chess discussion, in
> almost the same exposure time, as with any other chess learners, given a
> fairly enough complex position while analyzing a position which has
> clear learning goals.
>
> We identified our teaching goals in chess is to facilitate interactions
> among normal students and blind students on the problem solving fronts.
> We expected the blind student to share their thoughts on spatial
> reasoning and the color complexity property of the current position, in
> a dialogue form, which conventional chess players have can not always
> trace back to original position during very deep thought processes. This
> will help conventional students to project their ideas behind generating
> new position to the features observable by the blind students without
> any biases and the same time visually impaired students are guided to
> verify and validate such thought processes. This synergy effect is well
> aligned with the goals of the learning chess in a more co-operative way
> without affecting the style of a player. However, the same process with
> chess players trying to analyze similar positions with one of them just
> forced to observe structural features of chess have failed more times
> due to the fact that chess would be uninteresting in such case and
> secondly due to conflicts in the style of playing.
>
> We have deployed such a system in a blind school, where young chess
> learners are made to interact well with the visually impaired chess
> students without a sense of fear that their thought processes are
> shared. This helps the chess players to develop open-mindedness to share
> the learning with other students of their same age groups. We hope that
> in future, such mechanisms will be useful to connect students to blind
> students to bring social awareness in student community.
>
> Key Words: Learning goals, synergy, interaction, spatial reasoning in
> chess, though processes.
>
>
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: blindnews-bounces at blindprogramming.com
> [mailto:blindnews-bounces at blindprogramming.com] On Behalf Of
> blindnews-request at blindprogramming.com
> Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 7:12 PM
> To: blindnews at blindprogramming.com
> Subject: BlindNews Digest, Vol 39, Issue 8
>
> Send BlindNews mailing list submissions to
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>
>
> Today's Topics:
>
>   1. Blind students assert place in science. (BlindNews Mailing List)
>   2. Camp gives opportunity. (BlindNews Mailing List)
>   3. India:  Engineering college for the visually-challenged.
>      (BlindNews Mailing List)
>   4. Blind school undergoing $100 million renovation.
>      (BlindNews Mailing List)
>   5. Generous with his time and his art (BlindNews Mailing List)
>   6. Sens Time By Touch Clock For The Blind Is Sexy And Round.
>      (BlindNews Mailing List)
>   7. Reasons For Severe Blindness Illluminated.
>      (BlindNews Mailing List)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 22:57:56 -0700
> From: BlindNews Mailing List <blindnews at blindprogramming.com>
> Subject: Blind students assert place in science.
> To: "Blind News" <BlindNews at blindprogramming.com>
> Message-ID: <001201c7d8b7$e72b5520$2126cb40 at D2J7LK21>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
>
> Blind students assert place in science.
>
>
> Jason Flanagan and Aleksandra Robinson, The Examiner
> Baltimore Examiner - Baltimore,MD,USA
> 2007-08-04.
>
>
> BALTIMORE -
>
> A group of students was working on a tactile GPS system to help them
> "see."
>
> "It's equipped with a touch screen, so that someone totally blind can
> use
> it," said Jim Baker, 15, of West Valley, N.Y. "They could actually feel
> the
> directions to where they're going."
>
> Jim joined high school students nationwide for Youth Slam, organized by
> the
> National Federation of the Blind to encourage blind students to
> participate
> in science and engineering activities.
>
> "A lot of times, [blind students] are not even allowed to perform
> laboratory
> experiments, because their teachers believe, falsely, that it's too
> dangerous," said Christopher Danielson, spokesman for the organization
> based
> in Baltimore City.
>
> "They're often discouraged from pursuing careers in science, technology,
>
> engineering and math."
>
> Students, which took place between Tuesday and Friday at Johns Hopkins
> University in the city, explored such topics as astronomy, computer
> science
> and windmills.
>
> Youth Slam ended with a rally featuring blind students and a one-mile
> march
> from Rash Field in the Inner Harbor to the foundation's headquarters on
> Johnson Street.
>
> "We want people to know that we can get around without a guide, and not
> be
> scared of us just because we carry a cane," said Chelesa Henrici, 15, of
>
> Mulliken, Mich., echoing the theme of blind independence.
>
> Dozens of students, dressed in white T-shirts and yellow bandanas, spoke
>
> about being discriminated against just because they can't see.
>
> "I'm a smart person, but they put me in special education classes just
> because I'm blind," said Katie Glecker, 15, of Tucson, Ariz. "It's time
> to
> show people that the blind can be independent, too."
>
> jflanagan at baltimoreexaminer.com, al.robinson at baltimoreexaminer.com
>
>
> http://www.examiner.com/printa-863146~Blind_students_assert_place_in_sci
> ence.html?cid=tool-print-top
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 23:08:39 -0700
> From: BlindNews Mailing List <blindnews at blindprogramming.com>
> Subject: Camp gives opportunity.
> To: "Blind News" <BlindNews at blindprogramming.com>
> Message-ID: <001e01c7d8b9$6649a400$2126cb40 at D2J7LK21>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
>
>  Camp gives opportunity.
>
>
>
> By Amy Donaldson
> Deseret Morning News
> Deseret News - Salt Lake City,UT,USA
>
>
>      SANDY - Pain was a small price to pay for the thrill of competing
> in
> sports that Casey Scoffield rarely has the chance to even try.
>
>      Scoffield, whose blindness was caused by his premature birth, and
> about 20 other visually impaired youths spent the week learning the
> rules
> for and skills involved in judo, wrestling, track and field, swimming,
> tandem biking and goalball, a sport that is part of the Paralympics. The
>
> teens said it is an opportunity they relish.
>
>      "I almost begged to do wrestling and judo," Scoffield said. "This
> is
> my world. This is where I'm at home."
>
>      Rod Price has watched his son Quinn participate in the different
> activities this week and said the best part of the camp is seeing the
> participants grow more confident while they learn valuable social
> skills.
>
>      "There are girls and boys that come here, and because they've
> never
> participated in activities like this, they're kind of submissive," said
> Price, who is from Smithfield. "They learn different skills, and if
> someone
> were to attack them, they now have skills to use to try and fight and
> get
> away. ... Every one of these kids got more confident. At the beginning
> they're unsure and shy, but by the end of the week, they're all
> comfortable
> and participating."
>
>      Quinn said he enjoyed judo and wrestling the most, although he'll
> likely only continue to participate in goalball.
>
>      "They're hard work, but it's fun," Quinn Price said of wrestling.
> "We
> go at it pretty good."
>
>      Peter Ashton, 15, said he enjoys judo most, but both boys spend
> most
> of their time reading or playing on the computer.
>
>      "We're both pretty sore," said Ashton, who attends Timpview High.
> "It's been fun."
>
>      Organizers of the weeklong camp, which includes outings to movies
> and
> amusement parks, said they hope the experience gives new opportunities
> to
> blind children while helping them understand they may not be as limited
> as
> they think.
>
>      "Blind children simply do not have the same opportunities to
> participate in the typical summer camps for youths such as football and
> basketball camps," said Tony Jepson, sports camp director, in a press
> release. "The UFB Sports Camp gives blind youths a chance to develop
> skills
> and compete in several sports despite their blindness. This is the only
> chance they have to attend a specialized local camp like this."
>
>      In addition to offering students a chance to be active in new
> ways,
> the camp teaches their coaches a thing or two.
>
>      "I love to do this," said Aron Engberg, who taught wrestling all
> week.
> "Wrestling is a great sport for the visually impaired ... and teaching
> them
> has really been about the same (as teaching athletes with sight). I do
> it
> because I'm selfish. It's really fun."
>
>      The students had the chance to learn from some of the best in Adam
>
> Blackburn, currently ranked number two in his division by USA judo, and
> Chris Dodds, silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.
>
>      Scoffield earned more than the chance to participate in sports he
> loves this week. He earned the respect of those who watched him compete.
>
> After suffering a couple of hard falls, he was asked if he wanted to
> quit.
> He didn't even consider it.
>
>      "If you're blind, you're going to have to take some chances,"
> Scoffield said. "That's just the way it works."
>
> E-mail: adonaldsonx at desnews.com
>
> ? 2007 Deseret News Publishing Company
>
>
> http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,695197736,00.html
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 23:13:42 -0700
> From: BlindNews Mailing List <blindnews at blindprogramming.com>
> Subject: India:  Engineering college for the visually-challenged.
> To: "Blind News" <BlindNews at blindprogramming.com>
> Message-ID: <002a01c7d8ba$1abd9fe0$2126cb40 at D2J7LK21>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
>
> Engineering college for the visually-challenged.
>
>
> Frontline - India
> August 6, 2007.
>
>
> Hyderabad, Aug. 6 (PTI): In the first experiment of its kind in the
> country,
> a charitable organisation here plans to set up an engineering college
> for
> the blind with special software to enable them to pursue studies.
>
> The Devnar Foundation for the Blind, which runs a reputed school for the
>
> less privileged in the city, has applied to BITS, Pilani for affiliation
> for
> the proposed college, said its chairman A Saibaba Goud.
>
> "We are confident of getting affiliation from them and if we don't, we
> will
> approach another institution like the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological
> University. But I am 100 per cent confident that our proposal will be
> accepted by some university or institution," he said.
>
> Goud said the idea of setting up the college came up when he found that
> many
> visually challenged students of Devnar School aspired to "make it big in
>
> life".
>
> "Blind students are in no way inferior to others. Many of them are very
> sharp and hard working. In the old days, they would want to be telephone
>
> operators or to get similar jobs," he said.
>
> "But now they aspire to become software professionals and to be at par
> with
> other youngsters in a software hub like Hyderabad."
>
> Goud cited the example of two students -- Nagababu and Pavan -- who were
>
> selected by software giant Wipro.
>
> Nagababu was recruited by the company after completing his engineering
> from
> Vijayawada, while Pavan, though selected by the firm after completing a
> course at a polytechnic, chose to pursue engineering instead.
>
> Goud said the students of Devnar School are taught how to operate
> computers
> from Class VI and are able to browse the internet by the time they come
> to
> Class IX.
>
> "This education is imparted using the latest computers and a special
> software called Jaws which converts a personal computer into a talking
> computer for the visually challenged children who learn mostly by
> sound," he
> said.
>
> The ability to operate a computer would make the students confident of
> pursuing an engineering course, he said.
>
> The Devnar School was adjudged the country's best school for students
> with
> disabilities in 2002 and has also won a President's award.
>
> Goud said the Devnar Foundation planned to restrict the intake of
> students
> for the engineering college to 40-50 a year and to select them on merit.
>
> Information technology will be the main specialisation offered in the
> proposed institution.
>
> "If the students are good, then they will be able to pick things up
> fast,"
> he said.
>
>
> http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/holnus/004200708060341.htm
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 4
> Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 23:20:20 -0700
> From: BlindNews Mailing List <blindnews at blindprogramming.com>
> Subject: Blind school undergoing $100 million renovation.
> To: "Blind News" <BlindNews at blindprogramming.com>
> Message-ID: <002e01c7d8bb$07d17540$2126cb40 at D2J7LK21>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
>
> Blind school undergoing $100 million renovation.
>
>
> By: Kendra Mendez
> News 8 Austin - Austin,TX,USA
> 8/4/2007.
>
>
> The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Central Austin
> will
> get a state-of-the-art campus thanks to multiple state bonds totaling
> about
> $100 million.
>
> Many of the school's buildings are around 90 years old and in need of
> serious renovations. After serving 17 years as superintendent for the
> school, Phil Hatlen is excited for the change that's ahead.
>
> "We have buildings whose indoor air quality is so bad that teachers
> can't
> work in them," he said.
>
> The $100 million will be used for new school buildings, renovations and
> landscaping.
>
> "It's a lot of money, but I think the state legislature really
> recognized
> the need for an aging campus, which is 91 years old and that these
> buildings
> have completely outgrown their usefulness," superintendent Bill
> Daughtery
> said.
>
> They're already breaking ground on several projects and construction is
> scheduled to be finished in five years.
>
> The area around campus will be completely transformed into a square for
> extracurricular activities. It will have a dining hall, an indoor pool
> and a
> fine arts center.
>
> Upgrades also include constructions of eight additional live-in dorms.
> Six
> students will live in each room, which are all equipped for special
> needs.
>
> "You can slide under the burners. You can slide under the sink. The door
> to
> the oven opens sideways for folks in wheelchairs," Hatlen said.
>
>  TSBVI funds
>
> The Texas School for the Blind is undergoing a $100 million renovation
> under
> a new superintendent.
>
> Teachers come from across the world to learn about programs and
> curriculums
> at TSBVI.
>
> "When they come in the future they're going to see the best, most
> state-of-the-art physical facility in the country," Hatlen said.
>
> Hatlen is retiring as superintendent and Daughtery will begin serving
> this
> fall. He's a native Austinite who spent the past 14 years working at the
>
> Kansas State School for the Blind.
>
> "I'm leaving the school in very good hands and as of today, I'm happy,"
> Hatlen said.
>
> Copyright ?2007TWEAN News Channel of Austin, L.P. d.b.a. News 8 Austin.
>
>
> http://www.news8austin.com/content/headlines/?ArID=189634&SecID=2
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 5
> Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 23:26:47 -0700
> From: BlindNews Mailing List <blindnews at blindprogramming.com>
> Subject: Generous with his time and his art
> To: "Blind News" <BlindNews at blindprogramming.com>
> Message-ID: <003201c7d8bb$eebd3610$2126cb40 at D2J7LK21>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
>
> Generous with his time and his art
> By Susan Chaityn Lebovits,
> Globe Correspondent
> Boston Globe - United States
> Boston.com
> August 5, 2007.
>
>
> Andrai Whitted has a history of helping. He's shared his strength with
> the
> weak and his sight with the blind.
>
> Whitted spent a year in Ireland working as an aide in a men's homeless
> shelter and seven years at the Perkins School for the Blind in
> Watertown.
> Last month, he opened Artbeat, an 1,800-square-foot store and art studio
> in
> the town's center. It sells supplies for knitting, scrapbooks, and other
>
> artistic pursuits and offers children and adults who have bought the
> supplies instruction in mediums such as painting, decoupage, and
> doll-making. There are also art kits to work on at home.
>
> As the father of three, Whitted knows the challenges that today's
> technology
> has imposed on nurturing a child's imagination, where an empty canvas
> can
> feel a lot more threatening than a computer filled with aliens. He hopes
> to
> encourage creativity in the relaxed, casual environment, where shelves
> are
> lined with glass jars of colored beads, odd-shaped ceramic tiles, and
> wood
> boxes waiting to be brought to life.
>
> Tables and chairs are set off to the side of the store as well as
> outside on
> the brick patio. On a recent Thursday morning, Tina Schaper and her
> daughter
> Elie, 5, worked on a mosaic dolphin together, carefully arranging the
> precut, brightly colored ceramic tiles. The two had driven from Sharon,
> because, Schaper said, "there's no place like this around us."
>
> Whitted, 32, opened Artbeat with a business partner who has known him
> since
> the day he was born -- his mother, Jan Whitted of Cambridge. She is the
> person behind the original Artbeat in Arlington, which opened in 1996.
>
> For years, Andrai Whitted has gained gratification from watching people
> learn new skills and achieve a sense of accomplishment. But it wasn't
> until
> he dropped out of college in 1992 that he unearthed his own calling.
>
> Also the son of poet Mark Pawlak, a professor at the University of
> Massachusetts, Whitted grew up in Cambridge, where he was surrounded by
> an
> eclectic group of people and frequently accompanied his father to
> readings.
> He also spent a lot of time in the arts, primarily illustration.
>
> "When he was young, he would draw things from the bottom up," Jan
> Whitted
> said. "He'd draw the feet first, instead of the head; I realized that's
> how
> he saw things, because he was small."
>
> After graduating from high school, Whitted chose Tufts University over
> art
> school. But after one semester, he decided school wasn't his thing and
> he
> dropped out.
>
> His first job was with the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group,
> for
> which he did door-to-door fund-raising. "I wasn't really very good at
> that,"
> he acknowledged. His next stop was Harvard Square, where he worked for
> the
> former Be-Bop Burrito.
>
> After two years in the fast-food lane, Whitted got the travel bug and
> spent
> months in research. He narrowed it down to a kibbutz in Israel or a
> place
> called the Simon Community of Ireland, a federation that provides
> services
> and support to the homeless. He was offered a job with Simon Community
> and
> sent to Cork, where he worked in a shelter for the elderly. He dispensed
>
> medication, kept track of all the residents' pensions, cleaned, and
> physically took care of the men who were too old or handicapped to care
> for
> themselves.
>
> Whitted said most of his clients were male alcoholics in their 70s who
> would
> get their pension money, and with a walker in tow, drink it away in a
> single
> day. "They'd come home depressed and do the same thing the following
> week,"
> Whitted said. The purpose of the home, he said, was to give the men a
> safe
> place to live and not to intervene or preach, as they would wind up back
> on
> the streets.
>
> Whitted recalled some of the things that occurred when the men returned
> under the influence.
>
> "Some would become violent and fight with each other. We actually had to
>
> have all the knives in the house locked away because one guy, named
> Leonard,
> would threaten to hurt himself," Whitted said. Another man spent his
> days
> chain-smoking in an old chair next to the fireplace. "He would just
> throw
> the cigarette butts in the direction of the fireplace," Whitted said.
> "There
> were burn marks all over the rug, and, on occasion, he would
> [accidentally]
> light himself on fire." They kept a fire extinguisher behind him.
>
> Whitted said he really enjoyed the work and his time time with his
> co-workers, others in their 20s, who hailed from across Europe. But
> after a
> year, he became homesick and returned to Massachusetts.
>
> "Andrai came back saying, 'I want to do the kind of work I did in
> Ireland; I
> want to continue to have that feeling that I had there,' " his mother
> said.
>
> Whitted soon landed at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown,
> first
> as a program aide, and later as an assistant house parent. He worked in
> the
> Deafblind Program for people with multiple handicaps teaching daily
> living
> skills and proper social interaction.
>
> During the seven years he worked at the Perkins, he met his wife,
> Virginia,
> a native of Argentina who also taught there. They have three children
> between the ages of 4 months and 7 years.
>
> Whitted said he and his mother had been looking to open another store
> and,
> when they learned of Franklin's downtown revitalization, they thought it
>
> would be a good match. So, in June, they opened the store, where
> projects
> start at $10 for sand painting and run up to $20 for a mosaic wall
> hanging.
>
> "The kids who come in here are appreciative and have a really good
> experience," Whitted said. "I can offer instruction, interact with them,
> and
> they leave with having learned something. I feel that people are really
> empowered by that."
>
> Andrai Whitted will present a free talk and demonstration on nature
> journaling with your family at 4 p.m. Aug. 26. Learn about nature
> printing,
> stamp carving, letterboxing, and simple sketching techniques. For more
> on
> Artbeat, visit artbeatonline.com or call 508-528-5001.
>
> Suggestions for People items may be sent to Lebovits at globe.com.
>
> ? Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
>
>
> http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/08/05/generous_with_his_t
> ime_and_his_art/?page=full
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 6
> Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 23:36:28 -0700
> From: BlindNews Mailing List <blindnews at blindprogramming.com>
> Subject: Sens Time By Touch Clock For The Blind Is Sexy And Round.
> To: "Blind News" <BlindNews at blindprogramming.com>
> Message-ID: <003601c7d8bd$4948e100$2126cb40 at D2J7LK21>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
>
> Sens Time By Touch Clock For The Blind Is Sexy And Round.
>
>
> Gizmodo.com - Budapest,Hungary
> SUN AUG 5 2007.
>
> Swatch develops some awesome concepts and this is no exception. Designed
> by
> Arnaud Lapierre, it is a high fashion clock for the blind called Sens
> Time
> by Touch. Though there are many solutions for time keeping for the
> visually
> impaired, this concept goes a long way to push for style and
> functionality.
>
> The clock has a Braille twelve-hour marker on its outermost surface and
> this
> serves as the main calibration point for time keeping. The device
> consists
> in total of three concentric circles; the two closest to the exterior
> are
> ceramic and the furthest inset is clear plastic. The time is revealed by
>
> hedistance the twelve-hour marker is from the second ceramic ring, the
> plastic ring is used to set the alarm using the same principal.
>
> We love the fact that the design is elegant and not butt ugly-like most
> time
> keeping gadgets for the blind tend to be. In fact, we like the
> presentation
> of it so much we would love to have one of these up on our desk, because
> if
> there is anything we love more than warm, sweet, syrup filled macaroons,
>
> it's enigmatic, ceramic timepieces.
>
>
> http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/touch-me/sens-time-by-touch-clock-for-the-bli
> nd-is-sexy-and-round-286138.php
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 7
> Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2007 00:13:15 -0700
> From: BlindNews Mailing List <blindnews at blindprogramming.com>
> Subject: Reasons For Severe Blindness Illluminated.
> To: "Blind News" <BlindNews at blindprogramming.com>
> Message-ID: <005901c7d8c2$6c6ee350$2126cb40 at D2J7LK21>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
>
> Reasons For Severe Blindness Illluminated.
>
>
> Science Daily (press release) - USA
> Monday, August 06, 2007.
>
>
> People suffering from a severe retinal disease will sooner or later lose
>
> their eyesight considerably or even become completely blind.
>
> Those affected, family members, researchers and doctors hope that this
> fate
> might be avoided one day by a better understanding of the reasons for
> this
> disease. Coordinated by the geneticist Ronald Roepman from Nijemegen, an
>
> important step has now been made in this direction by an international
> research team with the participation of the GSF - National Research
> Center
> for Environment and Health: they identified a further gene for the
> inherited
> retinal disease Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) and discovered first
> evidences how it functions.
>
> This represents new opportunities for gene therapy, which especially for
>
> LCA, is considered as very promising since the disease is caused by a
> single
> mutation.
>
> LCA causes blindness very early on - often shortly after or within a few
>
> months of birth. The disease can be caused through a single mutation in
> different genes; with the newly discovered LCA5 gene, ten
> disease-causing
> genes had been identified so far which are responsible for approx. 60 %
> of
> all LCA diseases. "All these deficiencies lead in the end to the same
> symptoms, however, in order to treat the disease efficiently with the
> individual patient, it is important to know which gene mutation occurred
> in
> the specific case and what it causes", underlines Dr. Marius Ueffing
> (GSF
> Institute for Human Genetics), who leads the project at GSF.
>
> The LCA5 gene encodes the lebercilin, a so far unknown protein. Through
> proteomic methods, Ueffing's team could demonstrate that lebercilin
> specifically interacts with other proteins which play a role in the
> protein
> transport in the cells. Thus the scientists concluded that lebercilin is
>
> relevant for the protein transport within the optical cell: as shown by
> electro-microscopic pictures, within the optical cell described as the
> photoreceptor, lebercilin binds the most to the so-called cilium, the
> connection point between the interior and exterior segments of the
> photoreceptor.
>
> Through this "molecular transport belt", the optical crimson must be
> also
> transported into the exterior segment of the optical cell. The light
> reception takes place exactly here. If the lebercilin synthesis is
> disturbed, the already used optical crimson in the exterior segment
> cannot
> be replaced anymore and the eyesight is lost, according to the
> researchers'
> hypothesis.
>
> Very similar transport processes also play a role in other body parts,
> e.g.
> in the kidneys. Lebercilin is part of a complex network of proteins
> which
> controls ciliary transport processes, or directly take part in them.
> Disruptions in the cooperation of such molecular networks at the protein
>
> interaction level often build the molecular basis of diseases. In the
> case
> of ciliary diseases (ciliopathies), the restricted functionalities of
> cilium
> cause deafness, blindness or even severe syndrome diseases. LCA is
> therefore
> a good model which also enables to gain more knowledge over other
> difficultly treatable diseases in the long term.
>
> LCA itself is so far incurable. However, patients and doctors set their
> hopes high on gene therapy: since each type of LCA is caused by the
> mutation
> of a single gene, the affected persons could be helped by exchanging
> this
> gene. Such a LCA gene therapy has been already successfully implemented
> for
> dogs who naturally suffer from LCA: the treated dogs regained their
> permanent eyesight due to this therapy.  A clinical study of twelve
> human
> patients is currently being carried out at a large-scale London hospital
>
> with encouraging results. If these findings prove to be withstandable,
> there
> will also be gene therapy available for LCA5 gene deficiencies in five
> to
> ten years time, says Ueffing. "The affected persons urge for a faster
> procedure" underlines Ueffing, "but researchers and doctors assume a big
>
> responsibility concerning the development and implementation of gene
> therapies. Therefore, very high safety standards must be set in this
> field."
>
> Reference: "Mutations in LCA5, encoding the ciliary protein lebercilin,
> cause Leber congenital amaurosis"; Anneke I den Hollander, Robert K
> Koenekoop, Moin D Mohamed, Heleen H Arts, Karsten Boldt, Katherine V
> Towns,
> Tina Sedmak, Monika Beer, Kerstin Nagel-Wolfrum, Martin McKibbin,
> Sharola
> Dharmaraj, Irma Lopez, Lenka Ivings, Grange A Williams, Kelly Springell,
> C
> Geoff Woods, Hussain Jafri, Yasmin Rashid, Tim M Strom, Bert van der
> Zwaag,
> Ilse Gosens, Ferry F J Kersten, Erwin van Wijk, Joris A Veltman, Marijke
> N
> Zonneveld, Sylvia E C van Beersum, Irene H Maumenee, Uwe Wolfrum,
> Michael E
> Cheetham, Marius Ueffing, Frans P M Cremers, Chris F Inglehearn & Ronald
>
> Roepman; Nature Genetics Jul; 39(7) 2007:889-95; Nature Genetics advance
>
> online publication Published online: 3 June 2007; doi:10.1038/ng2066
>
> Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by GSF -
> National Research Center for Environment and Health.
>
>
> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070806104038.htm
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
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> BlindNews at blindprogramming.com
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>
>
> End of BlindNews Digest, Vol 39, Issue 8
> ****************************************
>
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