People undergoing an experimental stem-cell treatment have experienced modest improvements in their vision since the trial began in 2011, but one man had his vision restored from 20/400 -- basically blind -- to 20/40.
"There's a guy walking around who was blind, but now can see," said Gary Rabin, CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, the Massachusetts company that devised the treatment. "With that sort of vision, you can have a driver's license."
The man was taking part in a trial examining the safety of using human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to reverse two common causes of blindness, reports New Scientist.
In all, ACT has treated 22 patients who either have dry age-related macular degeneration, a common condition that leaves people with a black hole in the centre of their vision, or Stargardt's macular dystrophy, an inherited disease that leads to premature blindness.
In both diseases, people gradually lose retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. These cells recycle protein and lipid debris that accumulates on the retina, and supply nutrients and energy to photoreceptors -- the cells that sense light and transmit signals to the brain.
The company is testing treatments for both conditions by turning hESCs into new RPE cells, then giving each trial participant a transplant of the cells beneath the retina in one eye.
“Due to the tragic events this afternoon in Oklahoma, we are pre-empting tonight’s season finale of 'Mike & Molly,' which has a related storyline,” CBS said in a statement. “A repeat broadcast of 'Mike & Molly' will run in the time period. The season finale will be broadcast at an appropriate date.”
The episode, which was scheduled to air Monday night, was called "Windy City."
Here's the episode description (via USA Today):
The show also said on Twitter that CBS will air a repeat episode instead.
Due 2 the tragic events in Oklahoma, 2nite's season finale of #MikeandMolly, which has a related storyline, will be pre-empted by a repeat.— Mike & Molly(@MikeMolly_CBS) May 20, 2013
The Oklahoma medical examiner's office said Monday that at least 51 people have been killed by the severe weather ravaging communities in that state. The two-mile wide twister that swept through Moore, Okla., was classified EF-4 by the National Weather Service. It had reached winds up to 200mph.
Here are several videos that capture the magnitude of the tornadoes sweeping through the Great Plains:
Oklahoma resident and Twitter user David Massey also posted dramatic Vine videos of residents dealing with the destruction:
"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane already said earlier this year that there was "no way" he would host the Oscars again, after his 2013 performance garnered mixed reviews. But the return of 2013 producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron fueled speculation that MacFarlane would also be back.
The 39-year-old comedy writer and actor tweeted Monday that that he was too busy with other projects to host the Oscars next year.
"Traumatized critics exhale: I'm unable to do the Oscars again. Tried to make it work schedule-wise, but I need sleep," MacFarlane said.
"However, I highly recommend the job, as Zadan and Meron are two of the most talented producers in the business," he continued.
He put forward his own thoughts on next year's host: "My suggestion for host is Joaquin Phoenix."
Watch MacFarlane's opening monologue from this year's Oscars ceremony below:
Attendees at KROQ Weenie Roast in Los Angeles this weekend were treated to a surprise performance by the Stone Temple Pilots' new frontman, Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, Rolling Stone reported Sunday.
"I’ve loved STP since I was 13 years old and they’ve had a huge influence on me," Bennington said in a statement, in which he also emphasized his continued relationship with Linkin Park.
"Chester has a one-of-a-kind voice that we’ve admired for a long time," Stone Temple Pilots guitarist Dean DeLeo said.
"We know Linkin Park will always be his priority, but we thought it would be cool to try something together. We managed to find the time to record a song and we’re all really happy with the result," DeLeo added.
Weiland's statement after the firing suggested that the separation wasn't amicable.
Authorities are looking for the driver of the green Ford Expedition that killed a 29-year-old police officer and Iraq war veteran in Phoenix, Ariz., on Sunday, AZfamily.com reported.
Officer Daryl Raetz was on scene investigating a driving-under-the-influence incident when someone behind the wheel of an SUV hit him and kept going.
"This is a tragic day for the city of Phoenix," Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department said in a news conference Sunday.
Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia called Raetz "one of Phoenix's finest. One of our heroes."
"I honestly don't have the words to describe the sorrow in my heart for Daryl Raetz and his family," Garcia said.
Raetz had served the police department for six years after working as a military medic in Iraq.
As the Arizona Republic reported, Raetz died on the same day as a local firefighter, Brad Harper, who was crushed between two vehicles while fighting a fire.
“No words of mine can ease sorrow this deep for the family and friends of these two men, nor the brothers and sisters in uniform who served alongside them,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said of the deaths.
From dealing with difficult people to poor pay, it's not easy being a waitress. But a few grateful servers are getting lucky breaks from customers who lay down more than they're expected for good service.
It was just last week that an Indianapolis Steak 'n Shake waitress received a $446 tip on a $5.97 bill from a happy customer. Now, Tumblr user Casual Cynic says her mother got a $1,000 tip on a $60.42 bill.
According to Casual Cynic, her mother has been working as a waitress for years. She told a customer that she has eight years of art education and always wanted to go to Italy.
"It's pretty...sad and disappointing," Casual Cynic wrote. "Her and my father divorced 6 years ago and she hasn't had a real job ever. Just been stuck in a small town she's not from."
"This man who we have never seen before tipped her 1000 dollars for a trip to Italy. Walked out, not another word."
The post has garnered more than 127,000 notes on Tumblr.
[H/T Huffington Post]
A Florida man with experience handling snakes captured and killed a 128-pound Burmese python he discovered on the side of the road in Miami-Dade County, Fla., USA Today reported Monday.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Jason Leon was driving down a rural road when he saw three feet of the 18-foot, 8-inch snake sticking out of the bushes. Leon, who owned several Burmese pythons before they became illegal in 2010, killed the snake with a knife when it began to wrap itself around his leg.
Leon's discovery turned out to be the largest ever Burmese python found in Florida. The second longest was 17-feet, 7 inches.
"The FWC is grateful to him both for safely removing such a large Burmese python and for reporting its capture," the Exotic Species Coordination Section of the FWC, said in a statement.
The FWC also warned the general public not to try to handle or capture the snake themselves.
Burmese pythons, the largest species of snake in the world, are considered invasive to the state of Florida. According to the National Park Service, more than 1,800 of the reptiles have been found in Everglades National Park since 2002.
Ray Manzarek, founding member of The Doors, died Monday at age 74.
Manzarek was surrounded by family when he died in a German hospital after longtime treatment for bile duct cancer, CBS reported.
Manzarek met Jim Morrison at UCLA, where the two were studying film, according to People. Together, they founded The Doors. With their band, they became one of the most successful rock groups in the 1960s and one of the most beloved in history. They sold more than 100 million albums together.
Manzarek's organ line in "Light My Fire" elevated the band's rock pick-up song to a top hit.
Morrison died in 1971, and Manzarek tried to keep the group together as he stepped in as vocalist. Ultimately, he and fellow bandmembers Robby Krieger and John Densmore could not make it work.
Densmore and Manzarek toured as The Doors once again the past few years, and wrote a book on his life with the band in 1998.
Justin Bieber was hanging out backstage at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday when his on-again, off-again flame Selena Gomez walked by with her close friend, Taylor Swift.
In video of the backstage gathering, the 23-year-old Swift looks annoyed when the two stop for a catch-up session, while another friend tries to pull Gomez back into the crowd.
When Gomez wraps her arm around Bieber and grants him a kiss on the cheek, Swift sticks her tongue out.
Here's the GIF, courtesy of Zap2It:
The moment occurs at the 1:00 minute mark below:
Seating arrangements at the musical event fueled speculation that Gomez and Bieber might have rekindled their relationship, though Gomez told a radio station last week that she was "completely available in every way."