July 20, 2020

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have shown for the first time that when one optic nerve in the eye is damaged, as in glaucoma, the opposite optic nerve comes to the rescue by sharing its metabolic energy.

In doing so, however, the undamaged optic nerve becomes vulnerable to further metabolic stress, which could explain why the neurodegeneration observed in this and other diseases spreads between brain regions.

The report suggests a potential new approach to treating neurodegenerative diseases like glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease by beefing up the metabolic resources of the involved neurons.