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article imageRunning mice get vision back

By Tim Sandle     Jun 29, 2014 in Science
A new research study has shown that exposure to visual stimuli while running can restore vision to mice blind in one eye.
The study suggests that running while watching moving patterns can restore vision to mice suffering ‘lazy eye’ (blindness in one eye). This form of blindness, known as amblyopia, is caused by a lack of visual stimuli early in life, as a result of a droopy eyelid, misaligned eye, or congenital cataracts.
With the study, scientists recreated the condition in mice by sewing an eyelid shut for several weeks of the animals’ early lives. When their eyes were re-opened, mice were allowed to run on a “treadmill” of Styrofoam balls suspended on a stream of air, either with or without a visual stimulus.
The results showed that after a week, the group that watched moving patterns had nearly identical brain responses to visual stimuli from both the normal and “lazy” eye. The group that walked without visual training did not show this improvement.
The research has been published in the journal eLife ("Sensory experience during locomotion promotes recovery of function in adult visual cortex").
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