LSU gets $70,000 for research into Usher syndrome

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two nonprofits named for children with the most common genetic cause of combined deafness and blindness have given $70,000 to continue research into Usher syndrome at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans.

The money raised by foundations in California and Louisiana goes to the laboratory of research professor Jennifer Lentz.

Her lab created mice with the gene that causes Usher syndrome in Louisiana's Cajuns and Canada's Acadians. Descendants of those mice have symptoms similar to Usher patients — they're born deaf and with balance problems, and gradually lose their sight.

Experiments help scientists understand what causes the symptoms and look for ways to prevent or cure them.

The Eye on Jacob Foundation of La Canada, Calif., and Helping Hunter of Youngsville, La., raised the money.

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