How can one possibly pass up such an intriguing headline? It ran in both the Daily News and on KHOU.com, and no, it’s not a new nursery rhyme or the punch line to a twisted joke. It refers to some important work being done by UTMB’s Dr. Michael Boulton and colleagues in Florida, North Carolina, Ireland and Poland on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness among the elderly.
The blind mice, and there are more than three of them, are involved in a study that has used stem cells from bone marrow to restore their vision. In a separate study, the nuns—3,000 of them living in Ireland—are believed to have lower-than-usual rates of AMD compared to the rest of us. Scientists are interested in finding out why, and in seeing if what they may learn has lessons for treating or avoiding the disease.
I have some experience with nuns; I’m a graduate of small K-8 school run by the Salesian Sisters in Tampa. I can attest from first-hand experience that most of the Sisters had very good eyesight, and some of them had wicked-fast reflexes to boot. It was a combination that made you think twice about launching a fat, wet spitball at your best friend’s ear.