Nope, no baby yet. My blogging neglect cannot be attributed to any such worthy excuse. But, wow, have we been busy. Between putting the finishing touches on our pre-baby house projects, work, family visitors, and assorted social obligations, Steve and I have been spreading ourselves pretty thin. As a result of all this chaos, I've decided that next Friday will be my last day at work until December 3. Now I'm counting on Crusher to wait at least a few more days so that I can catch up on sleep, get my hair cut, and get just the teensiest bit bored before he or she turns our world upside down forever.
And, happily, things are pretty much done. We have a few little things left to do in the nursery, but it's certainly baby-functional at this point.
We've been generously showered by family, friends, and co-workers, and have acquired a wealth of hand-me-downs that will ensure that Crusher is fully clothed until he or she is at least 6 months old. As we get closer and closer to the reality of parenthood, I realize more and more how fortunate we are to have this incredible community of people around us, ready to welcome our child into the world. Crusher will be surrounded by so much love and joy, from so many different and wonderful people. What a lucky little baby!
Changing gears, I know that I promised ages ago to tell you about some of the Foundation Fighting Blindness's research that has tangible promise for my eyes. Here are just a few of the projects the FFB is funding:
- An FFB-funded study a few years ago led to the identification of the gene that causes my specific form of Usher Syndrome. My family and I participated in that study, which identified the Usher Type III-causing gene particular to Ashkenazi Jews
- Researchers funded by the Foundation Fighting Blindness are having great success in preclinical studies of stem cell therapies to make photoreceptor cells, which are essential for vision, and to enable those cells integrate into the retina.
- An FFB-funded research team from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Utah has used human neural stem cells cells derived from the brain to rescue vision in rats with retinal degenerative disease.
An investigative team funded by the FFB has demonstrated that nanoparticles may be a safe and effective way to correct genetic variations that cause RP and other retinal degenerative diseases. The researchers have used nanoparticles to restore vision in mice with RP. The nanoparticles were produced by compressing DNA with the corrective gene and coating it in a waxy, slippery substance. These particles were then injected into the retinas of the mice to deliver the gene. The treated mice showed both functional and structural improvement in their retinas.
- An FFB-funded investigation has used human umbilical cord tissue (a substance that is normally discarded after birth, so does not generally raise ethical concerns) to rescue vision in rats with retinal degenerative disease.
These are just a few of the FFB's ongoing efforts. More information on these and other research projects is available at www.blindness.org. And of course, if you'd like to contribute to our fundraising efforts for VisionWalk 2007, just click here.
I have a feeling I won't be posting much (again) before the baby arrives, although I may manage a post or two. But I promise (FOR REAL!) a full report, photos included, once the kiddo is safely in our arms.