Brain Science Podcast discussion

2006-2010 > BSP 69 Glial Cells

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message 1: by John (new)

John Brown | 52 comments I recently replayed this, and it echoed some papers that I have recently read.
Having suffered a brief period of diabetes around 8 years ago, I recently had a routine retinal scan, which showed slight stage 1 diabetic retinopathy in one eye.
So I read up on the subject, and on the retina. Apparently there are at least two sorts of glial cell in the retina. One engages in clean-up activity like macrophages in the blood, and the other type acts as an optical fibre taking light down through the vascular and neural layers onto the cones. So the often described superior design of the cephalopod (eg. squid) eye, where light can access cones directly, without going through the vascular and neural layers, probably has little advantage. The design of the vertebrate eye might (my opinion) result in better blood supply to the cones, which must have large amounts of neuro-transmitter to create and re-absorb. After taking lots of anti-oxidants, losing weight and dropping carbohydrate intake, my retinopathy cleared up. Isn't plasticity wonderful? So are glial cells.

message 2: by David (new)

David Mcdivitt | 65 comments That's good! I also have a plasticity story. Back in '94 or so I had a car accident leaving me with severe double vision. I occasionally had vertigo and disorientation. Through the years my vision improved, but I never seemed to adapt the last little bit. My eyes would sometimes lose focus, quit working together, and I'd have to close one. As time went on this was less and less, but eye doctors would often give too much myopia correction which exacerbated the problem. Ideally I needed slightly less than perfect correction and my eyes would work very well. An eye muscle specialist wanted to do surgery and I declined, feeling that was going overboard. My primary care sent me to a neurological-ophthalmologist who agreed with me, and also agreed some training might work. He gave me limp plastic prisms to lay on the front of reading glasses, with two different powers to try. I gave myself a schedule and after a little time it worked. The condition is not totally gone, but I use cognition when necessary to overcome it. I was also listening to BrainSciencePodcast about this time and new for a certainty my brain could and would adapt. Occasionally I still train. What I do is use a prism to accentuate the error, reading and doing whatever for a couple of hours. My eyes are very adaptable, adjusting to just about anything, which unfortunately prolongs the condition.

message 3: by John (new)

John Brown | 52 comments How interesting. I have used eye-charts to keep my need for glasses at modest levels of dioptres. Google "gottlieb eye chart" to see some. It was Dr. Gottlieb's own chart that I used. I spend long periods at a computer screen, and towards day's end I get slight double vision which clears up if I use the chart, which seems to decouple focusing from binocular fusion, allowing me to learn a new focussing regime.

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