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University of Iowa News Release


April 14, 2009

UI researchers to study serious eye disorder

A University of Iowa Health Care research team is participating in a study, funded by a five-year, $16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, to investigate the cause of idiopathic intracranial hypertension and test a potential new treatment.

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is a disorder of elevated pressure inside the cranium, or skull, with an unknown cause. Untreated, it may cause blindness.

The investigation will involve 40 study sites. Michael Wall, M.D., professor of neurology and ophthalmology, will direct an investigational treatment trial for patients newly diagnosed with the condition.

The clinical trial will assess the efficacy of a low-sodium weight-reduction diet plus a diuretic, acetazolamide, compared to the use of the diet plus a placebo, in reversing or preventing visual loss.

In addition to a treatment trial, Markus Kuehn, Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, and Edwin Stone, M.D., Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, will lead a genetics study that will evaluate genetic risk factors for idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

The project aims to provide evidence-based guidelines for treatment of the condition, reveal mechanisms of this therapy, and lead to an understanding of the cause of the disorder. The research teams will collaborate through the Neuro-ophthalmology Research Disease Investigator Consortium.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Care Media Relations, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,