EYEGLASSES MAKE A FASHION STATEMENT

According to the Vision Council of America, approximately 75 percent of adults wear some sort of vision correction. People wear eyeglasses for different reasons. Some people are nearsighted and cannot see objects far away, while other people are farsighted and cannot see objects close by. Eyeglasses offer corrective vision for people who have difficulty seeing.

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It is that most wonderful time of the year—no, we are not talking about Christmas. It’s Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Season. Yes, it’s the time of the year when we stress and spend hours on the phone or online shopping for health coverage. The pain of having to shop health coverage, spend hours on the phone or online with one company vs another for our health insurance can be a daunting task. It does not matter if you are on Medicare or looking for your personal insurance, this can be one of the most….

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DO YOU HAVE 20/20 VISION

When you consider what defines healthy eyes, among the criteria is good vision. The American Optometric Association says the term 20/20 vision is used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Visual acuity is usually measured with a Snellen chart. It’s likely everyone has seen the Snellen chart – usually starting with a huge “E,” .....

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Yeast has already given us bread, wine and beer, but in the very near future it may be a new painkiller.

 

Researchers at Stanford University have genetically engineered baker’s yeast to act on sugar so that in three to five days the sugar is converted to hydrocodone. In the same general way yeast can work on sugar and turn it into alcohol, the engineered yeast can take sugar, break it down and reassemble it into an opioid drug, according to the researchers.


Hydrocodone is an opioid class drug whose chemical cousins, oxycodone and morphine, can take more than a year to produce from poppies grown on licensed farms around the world. The poppies must be harvested, processed and shipped to pharmaceutical factories around the world. Speeding up the process would be valuable, as would removing the need for poppies.


In this new process, DNA is introduced into yeast cells that instruct it to create a chemical assembly line. Genes from plants, bacteria and rats are included in the genetic engineering.


“When we started work a decade ago, many experts thought it would be impossible to engineer yeast to replace the entire farm-to-factory process,” said senior study author Christina Smolke, a Stanford

YEAST TRANSFORMS QUICKLY INTO HYDROCODONE

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

associate professor of bioengineering. The experiment yields thus far have been too small for practical application as yet; it takes a whopping 4,400 gallons of bioengineered yeast to produce just a single dose of hydrocodone. The success is the proof of concept: It can be done. It just needs to produce more.


Smolke says there’s no possibility this technique, as it currently stands, could be used to produce illicit drugs such as heroin. “It’s definitely the case that no one could take these strains now and use them for commercial production or abuse them for nefarious purposes,” Smolke says. “You could get more of these compounds from eating a poppy seed bagel.”


While confirming genetically engineered yeast can produce hydrocodone and thus eliminate the use of poppies and the farm-to-factory process, there is still much more work needed to begin employing these methods. “This is only the beginning,” Smolke said. “The techniques we developed and demonstrate for opioid pain relievers can be adapted to produce many plant-derived compounds to fight cancers, infectious diseases and chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and arthritis.”