Protecting Sight #43: A new way to study the brain’s invisible secrets. From Moby Dick to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Welcome to my daily learning journal. My daily goal is to watch one Ted Talk and one cataract surgery. I also plan to read one journal article and read/listen to a book chapter, short story or significant work.

Here’s today’s list:

1. Ted Talk – Ed Boyden – A new way to study the brain’s invisible secrets. “Neuroengineer Ed Boyden wants to know how the tiny biomolecules in our brains generate emotions, thoughts and feelings — and he wants to find the molecular changes that lead to disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. Rather than magnify these invisible structures with a microscope, he wondered: What if we physically enlarge them and make them easier to see? Learn how the same polymers used to make baby diapers swell could be a key to better understanding our brains.” (

This was a Ted trending talk. Great innovative concepts. Well worth a watch. 13 minutes.

2A. Cataract Surgery – Uday Devgan MD Spiral Capsulorhexis Technique (Guest surgeon Dr. Ashraf Armia). “After needle decompression of the cataract, using a spiral technique for the capsulorhexis has a distinct advantage: if there is any pressure on the capsule, the capsule tissue can immediately be brought centrally to terminate the capsulorhexis and prevent radial extension. This video features expert surgeon Dr Ashraf Armia from Egypt and he demonstrates his technique for the spiral capsulorhexis. This helps to prevent the dreaded Argentinian Flag Sign and gives the surgeon a high level of control.”

2B. Cataract Surgery – Dr. Ashraf Armia – PEAR shaped capsulorhexis (YouTube). Excellent technique.

Fundus autofluorescence (A) demonstrating multiple, discrete hyperautofluorescent lesions throughout the posterior pole, concentrated along the superior arcades; spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (B) shows small, localized subretinal fluid pockets at the site of these lesions.

3A. Journal – JAMA Ophthalmology Clinical Challenge – Patel SN, Kim SJ. Sudden Onset of Multiple Green Spots in the Eyes of a Woman With Breast Cancer. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2020;138(4):412–413. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.5288

A, Fundus photograph of the left eye demonstrates a central maculopathy with focal gray discolored lesions and yellow-orange pigmentation. B, Scanning laser ophthalmoscopy and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) of the same eye reveal ellipsoid zone disruption and vertical hyperreflective bands. Similar findings were present in the fellow eye.

3B. Journal – JAMA Ophthalmology Clinical Challenge – Zhu I, Mieler WF, Francis AW. A Mysterious Central Scotoma in a Teenage Male Patient. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2020;138(4):414–415. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.5383

Orbital noncontrast imaging studies. Noncontrast computed tomography (CT) (A) and magnetic resonance imaging (B), images of the orbit. Computed tomography demonstrates inflammatory changes of the right medial orbital wall (arrowhead). Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrates inflammatory changes at the right orbital apex (arrowhead). Both images demonstrate nasosinal inflammation.

3C. Journal – JAMA Ophthalmology Clinical Challenge – Geyman LS, Pham CM, Aakalu VK. Acute-Onset Visual Acuity Loss in a Man With Advanced Diabetes Mellitus. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2020;138(4):416–417. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.5388

4. Book Chapter – Mark Twain – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Listened to Chapters 1-4 via Apple Podcast (free). See also Sparknotes (narration) and Gutenberg (book text).

See Protecting Sight Daily Learning posts here.

Please send me feedback. Would appreciate suggestions of Ted Talks, cataract videos, and journal articles to learn from and share.

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