Narrator: This is Science Today. Cell and molecular biologists at the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California , Santa Barbara are studying age-related macular degeneration on a biological level. Don Anderson, director of the institute's Center for the Study of Macular Degeneration, says ten years ago, there was very little research devoted to this blinding disease.
Anderson : What we decided to do was try to approach the problem from a cell biological level and the easiest way that we came up with approaching that was to focus on deposits that are characteristic of the disease called drusen. Our initial hypothesis was that if we were able to discern what the molecular composition of these drusen were, that that would give us insights into the disease process.
Narrator: Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in individuals over the age of sixty.
Anderson : By way of definition, a macula is Latin for spot and the spot in this case is a portion of the central retina and it lies just adjacent to the optic nerve.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.