In this medical video learn about a new way to test for Retitinitis Pigmentosa, which could help doctors diagnose the vision-destroying disease years before symptoms appear.
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Jennifer Matthews: Dan Day is a computer programmer. He spends hours staring at a screen he can barely see. Dan Day: This is about four time's normal. At this size I can actually read this pretty well. Jennifer Matthews: Day has retinitis pigmentosa or RP, a disease that slowly destroys the retina. He didn't grow up with it; in fact, he played college basketball and served in Korea. Then when he was 30, his vision started fading. Dan Day: Once it's here it's gone and it does not appear again until clear up here. Jennifer Matthews: In Dan's family, ten people, including his grandmother, mother, brother, two sisters, nieces and nephews are going blind; the hardest part of diagnosis knowing which type of the disease patients have. Dr. Radha Ayyagari: So far at least more than 35 genes have been identified for different forms of retinitis pigementosa. Jennifer Matthews: A new test on this microchip makes it easier for doctors to see the difference. Researchers put a drop of blood on this chip. A scan breaks down the DNA and turns it into a chart doctors analyze. Dr. Radha Ayyagari: It's important to know which gene mutation they have inherited, so that they can determine the risk of their children inheriting the disease. Jennifer Matthews: There is still no cure for RP, but doctors hope this discovery will help them develop one in the future. Until then, Dan will continue his work and let his computer read the fine print. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.