Blood vessels grow out of control in this environmental scanning electron microscopy image of a diseased retina. In diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity, blood vessels grow abnormally in the back of the eye and leak blood, causing blindness. At least 4.1 million Americans with diabetes are affected. Research has shown that inexpensive omega-3 supplements may ease retinopathy. A new study of mice published Feb. 9 in the journal Science Translational Medicine finds that the supplements do so by reducing runaway blood vessel growth. Clinical trials in humans are underway.

Blood vessels grow out of control in this environmental scanning electron microscopy image of a diseased retina. In diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity, blood vessels grow abnormally in the back of the eye and leak blood, causing blindness. At least 4.1 million Americans with diabetes are affected. 

Research has shown that inexpensive omega-3 supplements may ease retinopathy. A new study of mice published Feb. 9 in the journal Science Translational Medicine finds that the supplements do so by reducing runaway blood vessel growth. Clinical trials in humans are underway.

 
2011 Review: The Year in Health Science
From the first voice box transplant ever to reversing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s by zapping the brain, it has been a fascinating, and on occasion downright weird, year in biomedicine. Who can forget the discovery that faecal transplants ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s? We’ve also reported pills that could prevent cancer, warned of the five small steps to a potentially lethal flu pandemic, and even had a reporter perform intimate acts inside an fMRI scanner to unlock the secrets of consciousness. Here are our top 10 favourite stories of the year.

Woman speaks after pioneering voice box transplantFirst ever transplant of combined larynx, thyroid and windpipe has been a resounding success
Daily aspirin cuts risk of colorectal cancerAn aspirin a day reduces the risk of developing hereditary colorectal cancer and could be of benefit to those with a family history of other cancers
Sex on the brain: Orgasms unlock altered consciousnessOur intrepid reporter performs an intimate act in an fMRI scanner to explore the pathways of pleasure and pain
Faecal transplant eases symptoms of Parkinson’sDiabetes and even obesity, as well as Parkinson’s disease, might be cured just by replacing the bacteria in your gut
Genes marked by stress make grandchildren mentally illA little thing called methylation means that parental neglect, or eating a poor diet, could lead to depression or schizophrenia two generations later
Genes from algae allow blind mice to seeBlind people could one day have their sight restored thanks to a treatment that borrows a gene from algae and installs it into the eye
Five easy mutations to make bird flu a lethal pandemicA lethal form of bird flu that spreads easily between humans has yet to appear – but a new study suggests it might evolve easily
First viable sperm cells grown from scratchFor the first time viable mouse sperm have been grown outside the testes. If this works for human sperm, it could mean new treatments for infertile men
Anti-dengue mosquitoes released in AustraliaSome 300,000 mosquitoes carrying a bacterium that limits their ability to spread dengue fever have been released in Queensland
Alzheimer’s damage reversed by deep brain stimulationBrain shrinkage in people with Alzheimer’s disease can be reversed in some cases by zapping the degenerating tissue with electrical impulses

2011 Review: The Year in Health Science

From the first voice box transplant ever to reversing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s by zapping the brain, it has been a fascinating, and on occasion downright weird, year in biomedicine. Who can forget the discovery that faecal transplants ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s? We’ve also reported pills that could prevent cancer, warned of the five small steps to a potentially lethal flu pandemic, and even had a reporter perform intimate acts inside an fMRI scanner to unlock the secrets of consciousness. Here are our top 10 favourite stories of the year.

Woman speaks after pioneering voice box transplant
First ever transplant of combined larynx, thyroid and windpipe has been a resounding success

Daily aspirin cuts risk of colorectal cancer
An aspirin a day reduces the risk of developing hereditary colorectal cancer and could be of benefit to those with a family history of other cancers

Sex on the brain: Orgasms unlock altered consciousness
Our intrepid reporter performs an intimate act in an fMRI scanner to explore the pathways of pleasure and pain

Faecal transplant eases symptoms of Parkinson’s
Diabetes and even obesity, as well as Parkinson’s disease, might be cured just by replacing the bacteria in your gut

Genes marked by stress make grandchildren mentally ill
A little thing called methylation means that parental neglect, or eating a poor diet, could lead to depression or schizophrenia two generations later

Genes from algae allow blind mice to see
Blind people could one day have their sight restored thanks to a treatment that borrows a gene from algae and installs it into the eye

Five easy mutations to make bird flu a lethal pandemic
A lethal form of bird flu that spreads easily between humans has yet to appear – but a new study suggests it might evolve easily

First viable sperm cells grown from scratch
For the first time viable mouse sperm have been grown outside the testes. If this works for human sperm, it could mean new treatments for infertile men

Anti-dengue mosquitoes released in Australia
Some 300,000 mosquitoes carrying a bacterium that limits their ability to spread dengue fever have been released in Queensland

Alzheimer’s damage reversed by deep brain stimulation
Brain shrinkage in people with Alzheimer’s disease can be reversed in some cases by zapping the degenerating tissue with electrical impulses