Three blind mice just got their vision restored — could humans be next?

three blind mice stanford study eyeball
Three blind mice are no longer blind. No, not the three blind mice (your nursery rhyme is safe), but rather a group of rodents at Stanford University. These three lucky mammals represent the first success stories in “restoring multiple key aspects of vision,” the Stanford news center reports, and it may be the first step in restoring sight for blind humans.

In conducting their experiments, researchers manipulated optic-nerve cables, which help convey visual information from the eye to the brain, to regenerate after being completely severed. Incredibly, they discovered that these cables could actually re-establish connections with parts of the brain. Before the eye-brain connection was re-established, the mice suffered from a condition similar to glaucoma, which is currently the second-leading cause of blindness. And given that there’s no cure today for glaucoma, these findings could be a major breakthrough in the vision world.

The key to this regeneration appears to lie in a cascade of growth-enhancing chemical reactions, known as the mTOR pathway. In their experiments, the Stanford team boosted the pathway’s activity. Mice with a damaged optic nerve were either treated with gene therapy targeting the mTOR pathway, images of a moving black-and-white grid, or both.

After three weeks, scientists found that when both approaches were used and the undamaged eye was covered to encourage the use of the problem eye, the optic-nerve axons regenerated, all the way to the brain.

“Somehow these retinal ganglion cells’ axons retained their own GPS systems,” said Andrew Huberman, the study’s senior author. “They went to the right places, and they did not go to the wrong places.”

He added, “Several dozen mice had vision restored to varying degrees.” But varying degrees is a strong qualifier — in some vision tests (like avoiding a cliff), certain mice still failed. This, Huberman said, is because “only a very small fraction of neurons regenerated — probably less than 5 percent.”

So while we may be closer than before to restoring vision, the future is not yet crystal clear.


Rekindled yet again, Nokia’s next-gen phones offer more than just nostalgia

HMD Global, a startup that designs and builds Nokia Android smartphones, wants to put the Nokia brand name back “where it belongs.” It helps that it’s made up of ex-Nokia employees. We go behind the scenes to see how HMD formed.

Is your PC slow? Here's how to restore Windows 10 to factory settings

Computers rarely work as well after they accumulate files and misconfigure settings. Thankfully, with this guide, you'll be able to restore your PC to its original state by learning how to factory reset Windows.
Product Review

If you don't know about Genesis yet, the G70 is going to change that

The 2019 Genesis G70 is Korea’s first attempt to take on the vaunted German trio of BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Competition doesn’t come much tougher than that.
Emerging Tech

A citizen of the universe? Dutch startup wants to deliver a baby in space

Netherlands-based startup SpaceLife Origin plans to be the company responsible for delivering the first baby born in space. And it wants to do it by 2024. Because, you know, science.

VisionCheck might give you the option to ditch your visit to your optometrist

A new gadget enables you to test your eyes yourself at home. Using the EyeQue VisionCheck, an automated optical device, you can measure your eyes' refractive error and find out what strength of glasses you need.

Digital Trends Top Tech of CES 2019 Award Winners

5G. A.I. Voice assistants. Metaverse. Yes, metaverse. CES 2019 slathered on the buzzwords thick and heavy, but beneath the breathless hype and bluster, there were amazing products to back it up, too. Except metaverse. C’mon Nissan, you…
Product Review

Garmin’s 4G LTE VivoActive 3 keeps you safe when you’re out on the trails

Garmin takes its already great VivoActive 3 Music fitness smartwatch and adds a 4G LTE connection, courtesy of Verizon. The watch now has streaming music, independent GPS, and best of all, SMS support and various safety features. We’ve…

Want to eat healthy in 2019? 10 everyday kitchen products from Walmart can help

If 2019 is the year you curb your delivery habit and start getting intimate with your kitchen. After all, you want to eat well. The only problem is that you’re not sure how to begin. Here are some fantastic kitchen products to aid your…
Emerging Tech

This energy-generating treadmill cuts your waistline and your power bill

Fitness equipment maker SportsArt was on hand at CES 2019 with its latest piece of sustainable sports equipment - the electricity-generating Verde G690 treadmill.
Emerging Tech

Stomach implant device uses jolts of electricity to fight obesity

An implant created at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could help fight obesity by attaching to users' stomachs and then suppressing feelings of hunger using jolts of electricity.

Before buying a Fitbit or Apple Watch, check out these fitness trackers under $50

Fitbit and Apple Watch are top of the line when it comes to fitness trackers but if you want to save, we have alternatives. If 2019 is the year you keep track of your health and budget your expenses, then take a look at these fitness…
Product Review

One breath into this device could change what you eat forever

Anyone living with a food intolerance knows the pain — literally and figuratively — of dealing with it, and even identifying what the cause of the problem is. The FoodMarble Aire wants to solve this, and we took a closer look at CES…
Health & Fitness

Futuristic mask filters out air pollution for cyclists and runners

A concern for cyclists in urban environments is staying safe from airborne pollutants. A cycling mask shown off at CES 2019 could help combat this problem by blocking out air pollution to keep cyclists' lungs clear as they ride.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!