Gold dust in your contact lenses can help color blindness, research shows

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Contact lenses made with millions of gold nanoparticles no bigger than a dust particle can combat a common form of color blindness.

These ‘gold dust’ particles filter out certain wavelengths of light so that the brain can more easily distinguish between different colors, especially red and green.

About one in 12 men and one in 200 women has this condition, the so-called ‘red-green color vision deficiency’, the most common form of color blindness.

It is more common in men because it is passed on the X chromosome (men only have one X chromosome, from their mother, and if that has the color blindness gene, they will be affected; women should have the gene from both parents. inherit) are affected).

Contact lenses made with millions of gold nanoparticles no bigger than a dust particle can combat a common form of color blindness

Contact lenses made with millions of gold nanoparticles no bigger than a dust particle can combat a common form of color blindness

The genetic defect means that some of the color-sensitive cells at the back of the eyes, called cones, are missing or not working properly. It can also occur later in life due to conditions that damage the eye, such as diabetes or glaucoma. Some prescription medications – such as sildenafil (Viagra) – can also affect color perception.

When light hits the back of the eye, the cones separate all the colors and relay the information to the brain.

If the cones are missing or damaged – for example, in red-green color blindness, the cones that detect red and green hues are affected and the rays of different colors may overlap or merge where they hit the eye – it is difficult to tell them apart.

In red-green color blindness, the cones that detect red and green hues are affected and the rays of different colors can overlap or merge where they hit the eye - it is difficult to distinguish them from each other

In red-green color blindness, the cones that detect red and green hues are affected and the rays of different colors can overlap or merge where they hit the eye - it is difficult to distinguish them from each other

In red-green color blindness, the cones that detect red and green hues are affected and the rays of different colors can overlap or merge where they hit the eye – it is difficult to distinguish them from each other

Red-tinted glasses can help by filtering out some of the light as it enters the eye, reducing the amount of overlap and effectively increasing the contrast between the colors.

The problem is that these glasses are bulky and the lenses are dark red, which can make them unsuitable for everyday wear.

However, the new contact lenses are more discreet and have only a slight pinkish hue. They look pink (instead of gold) because, in small fragments, gold has a small area and so, instead of reflecting the entire spectrum of light (which would make it appear gold and shiny), it reflects more red light , which makes the lenses appear tinted pink.

To date, attempts to make contact lenses have met with limited success. This is partly because the dye used in glasses can leach into the eye when used in a contact lens, reducing their effectiveness.

Scientists from Khalifa University, UAE, and Imperial College London, experimented with gold particles because the metal can be used safely in the body.

To make the contact lenses, the team mixed gold particles in hydrogel polymer, the material used for standard contact lenses.

In a lab study, the lenses blocked at least 50 percent of the light that mixes red and green, ACS Nano magazine reported, making it easier to tell the colors apart.

Melanie Hingorani, an ophthalmologist advisor at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital, London, says, “The lenses can help some people with color blindness, in the same way that tinted glasses do, but they are not a cure.”

Try a workout for a better night’s sleep

Exercise doesn’t just tire your muscles – researchers have found it improves the quality of your sleep, even though most people won’t notice the difference.

Researchers at the University of Tsukuba, Japan used an automated method to record brain signals to determine the depth of sleep.

Nine volunteers did a 60-minute workout and then were connected to the technology while sleeping. The participants had a deeper and more refreshing rest when they exercised – although the volunteers reported no change.

Writing in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers say their work could help develop new treatments for sleep disorders.

A workout doesn't just give you tired muscles - researchers have found it improves the quality of your sleep, even though most people won't notice the difference

A workout doesn't just give you tired muscles - researchers have found it improves the quality of your sleep, even though most people won't notice the difference

Exercise doesn’t just tire your muscles – researchers have found it improves the quality of your sleep, even though most people won’t notice the difference.

Anti-bacterial plaster made from recycled waste

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have created a ‘gel dressing’ from waste – durian fruit and glycerol from soap production – which they say provides an environmentally friendly and safe way to treat wounds

The product is made by processing durian peel, which is usually discarded, with baker’s yeast (which is antimicrobial) to form a hydrogel patch. These are used for wounds because their high water content promotes healing.

ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering magazine reports that the gel created is similar to silicone sheets, which can be cut to size.

New drug to target viruses that cause cold sores

A drug that treats a rare enzyme condition can help treat the herpes virus that causes cold sores.

When the drug – called phenylbutyrate – was used along with acyclovir (a treatment for herpes), the combination cleared the virus, which also causes genital herpes, more quickly than when either was given alone, a University of Groningen study found. Illinois, USA. .

The researchers say if the drug is licensed, it could be available to treat herpes more quickly.

A drug that treats a rare enzyme condition can help treat the herpes virus that causes cold sores [File photo]

A drug that treats a rare enzyme condition can help treat the herpes virus that causes cold sores [File photo]

A drug that treats a rare enzyme condition can help treat the herpes virus that causes cold sores [File photo]

Can black currants keep blood sugar stable?

Eating black currants can help tackle type 2 diabetes, say researchers at the University of Eastern Finland.

In a study with 26 volunteers, scientists found that just 75 grams reduced blood sugar and insulin levels for half an hour. They say this suggests the fruit may help regulate the body’s blood sugar and reduce the risk of type 2.

Black currants contain anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that can prevent cell damage. Anthocyanins are thought to be able to inhibit the enzyme that helps break down sugar.