Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

Archive for July 2010

FDA Approves Implantable Mini Telescope

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It sounds like a story straight from a SciFi-book: VisionCare has released a pea-sized implantable telescope designed to improve the vision of patients suffering from macular degeneration.

The Intraocular Telescope

Macular degeneration is an often age-related disorder that damages the macula, the center of the retina that is required for focused, sharp sight. The disease can spread to wider parts of the retina, resulting in blindness. The device is implanted directly into the eye, where it magnifies the image approximately 2,5 times so that it can be picked up by neighbouring, unaffected parts of the retina (which usually are responsible for peripheral sight). This means the patient gets a clear, magnified image on the implanted eye, and has to use the other eye for peripheral sight, which is a skill that has to be learned first. Still, this means that it gives people back the abilities to read, watch TV, and recognize faces – all skills that are nearly impossible for someone suffering from an advanced case of the disorder.
On the website of VisionCare you can find more pictures and a promo-video explaining the disease and the device in detail.

Despite the futuristic ring of the title “Intraocular Telescope”, we’re basically talking about a glorified magnifying-glass here. It is not yet a very sophisticated device, even though it is quite a technological feat and a great step in medicine. It’s a huge help to millions of people suffering from age-related blindness. What I find most interesting about this are the possibilities it is likely to provide in near future, namely enhancing the abilities of healthy human eyes.

A Few Words On Hitchens and Wulff

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It’s a dark day. First, there is a new President of Germany: Christian Wulff. The Humanist Press Agency hpd aptly called him a “Wulff in a Sheep’s Guise”. As I reported before, he’s a religious nutbag in complete denial of the fact that his country is to more than 30% non-religious, and one of the worst conservaties this country has to offer.
So not only do we now have one of the most delusional presidents in the history of this country, the vote is also likely to produce serious instability within the ruling coalition.

The other piece of bad news is that Christopher Hitchens is appearently suffering from esophageal cancer. There is not too much information on this – Hitchens is keeping a private matter private. What he offers us is but a very brief statement :

I have been advised by my physician that I must undergo a course of chemotherapy on my esophagus. This advice seems persuasive to me. I regret having had to cancel so many engagements at such short notice.

I have lost a family member to cancer. It is an ugly disease, and not an end that I’d wish for anyone. I hope for the very best for Mr. Hitchens – so the world may enjoy his great wit, common sense and eloquence a little longer.

Written by Phil

July 2, 2010 at 17:19

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