X-Message-Number: 11678
Date: Tue, 04 May 1999 21:51:19 -0400
From: Jan Coetzee <>
Subject: heart muscle

Report: Machine Catches Vision Problems In Children

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A computerized machine that can automatically
measure vision
works to identify problems in young children and even babies,
researchers reported Monday.

The device, made by San Diego-based EyeDx Inc., uses a digital camera
and a computer.

Dr. David Granet of the Abraham Ratner Children's Eye Center in San
Diego tested it on more
than 200 children, compared the results to an examination by a pediatric
opthamologist, and said
it works.

``The EyeDx system can detect eye disorders in children of all ages and
is affordable, quick,
and easy to use,'' Granet, who presented his findings at a meeting of
the Pediatric Academic
Societies, said in a statement.

``This means we can test more children at an early, critical age,
identify eye problems sooner
and possibly save them from a lifetime of visual impairments,'' he

``Few children under age 4 now are receiving adequate examination, which
is partly due to the
lack of adequate and automated screening tools.''

The camera takes a quick snap of the patient's eyes and the image is
downloaded into a
computer, which screens for cataracts, tumors, alignment problems,
myopia (nearsightedness),
hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.

Factor may trigger heart cell division

NEW YORK, May 03 (Reuters Health) -- Researchers have identified a
factor that appears to
trigger heart cells to divide, a discovery that may lead to new
treatments for heart muscle
defects or damage, such as those caused by birth defects or heart
attacks, according to a report
presented Sunday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in
San Francisco.

The molecule is a transcription factor, which triggers changes in DNA.
The investigators
isolated the gene for the transcription factor hCdc5, which ``pushes
cells into the final phase of
cell division,'' said Dr. Harold S. Bernstein of University of
California at San Francisco

Normally, heart cells divide only until shortly after birth and once
heart muscle damage occurs
-- or if an infant is born with a heart defect -- it cannot be repaired
by the body.

Bernstein and colleagues have been able to induce partial cell division
of heart muscle cells in
laboratory experiments using hCdc5.

Bernstein told Reuters Health in an interview that ``what's interesting
is that others have gotten
cells to start dividing, but they've gotten stuck at exactly the point
where our transcription factor

A combination of all the transcription factors and processes discovered
over the past year or so
may result in the ability to stimulate complete division of heart muscle
cells, Bernstein said. If
this proves true, the implications for repair of heart damage are
enormous, according to the
California researcher.

``The reason we are so interested in the cell cycle is that we need
better treatments for children
whose heart muscle is damaged due to heart abnormalities -- the most
common form of birth
defect,'' said Bernstein in a statement issued by UCSF.

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