Scientists Restore Sight in Blind Mice Using Exercise and Gene Therapy

Two steps to a single solution.

7. 12. 16 by Neil C. Bhavsar

Thinking back to high school biology, one thing that we learned was that our brain cells never grow back. Well, thanks to researchers at Stanford University, we may just have to rethink what our school teachers taught us.

Using mice that underwent genetic manipulation and ocular exercises, scientists were able to conclude that the regrowth of damaged retinal ganglion cells was able to make a difference in the mice’s vision. What’s even more interesting is the fact that even though there was a less than 5% regrowth, there was a noticeable difference in the vision of the mice.

A two-pronged approach was utilized: first, modifying a genetic switch that is naturally turned off once the nervous system reaches maturity and second, exercising the damaged eye through the display of moving, high-contrast stripes. The novelty lies in the fusion of both techniques, which provides, “this incredible synergistic effect,” Andrew Huberman says, the Stanford neurobiologist who led the work. He believes that the marriage of growth activation and visual input leads to the minimum brain cell regeneration needed.

Ultimately, the researchers involved believe these findings can prove useful in conditions such as glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, and spinal cord injuries. However, due to anatomical differences in human and mice and other factors, we are nowhere near expecting human trials anytime soon.


A brief explanation of how the eye works from your favorite scientist:

Futurism Readers: Find out how much you could save by switching to solar power at By signing up through this link, may receive a small commission.

Share This Article

Keep up.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep in touch with the subjects shaping our future.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy


Copyright ©, Camden Media Inc All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Data Use Policy. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.