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Laser pointers can cause irreversible vision loss for kids

Used incorrectly, laser pointers can damage the retina of the eye and may cause some irreversible vision loss, according to researchers who treated four boys for these injuries.

Doctors, teachers and parents should be aware that this can happen, and limit children’s use of laser pointers, the authors write, according to Reuters.

“This was initially thought of as a never event, that never happened,” said senior author Dr. David R. P. Almeida of Vitreo Retinal Surgery, PA, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “But we have four cases so it does happen sometimes,” though it’s still unusual.

Alzheimer's drug study gives 'tantalising' results

A drug that destroys the characteristic protein plaques that build up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's is showing "tantalising" promise, scientists say.

Experts are cautious because the drug, aducanumab, is still in the early stages of development, according to BBC.

But a study in Nature has shown it is safe and hinted that it halts memory decline.

Larger studies are now under way to fully evaluate the drug's effects.

The build-up of amyloid in the brain has been a treatment target for many years.

Folic acid fortified food linked to decline in congenital heart defects

Food fortified with folic acid, a B vitamin required in human diets for numerous biological functions, was associated with reduced rates of congenital heart defects, according to new research.

"Our study examined the effect of folic acid food fortification on each specific subtype of congenital heart disease based on experience before and after food fortification was made mandatory in 1998," said K.S. Joseph, M.D., Ph.D., the study's senior author and professor.

Controlling for influences such as maternal age, multiple births (twins, triplets), pregnancy complications, prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy terminations, researchers analyzed data from nearly 6 million births from 1990 to 2011 and found that folic acid food fortification was associated with an 11 percent reduction in rates of congenital heart defects overall.

They also found that the beneficial effects of folic acid were evident in some subtypes of congenital heart defects but not others, such as a:

Why a cold drink quenches your thirst

On a hot summer’s day or after a hard workout it can seem like nothing but an ice cold drink will quench your thirst.

And now scientists have found that cool drinks really are the most satisfying – because they turn off thirst stimulators in the brain.

Researchers have identified neurons in the brain which appear to be responsible for controlling thirst.

These neurons – in the same part of the brain which monitors blood composition - trigger the feeling of thirst whenever the body’s water levels are imbalanced to encourage us to drink.

Surprise discovery in the blink of an eye

We probably do it every day, but scientists have only just discovered a distinct new way in which we move our eyes.

The team assessed the eye movements of 11 subjects using tiny wires attached to the cornea and with infrared video tracking. In results, they discovered a new type of eye movement that is synchronised with blinking.