Stem cells used to restore sight
Patients blinded in one or both eyes by chemical burns regained their vision after healthy stem cells were extracted from their eyes and reimplanted, according to a report by Italian researchers at a scientific meeting. The cells grew into healthy corneal tissue, transforming disfigured, opaque eyes into functioning ones with normal appearance and color, said researchers led by Graziella Pellegrini of the University of Modena's Center for Regenerative Medicine. The treatment restored sight to more than three-quarters of the 112 patients treated, Pellegrini said this week at the International Society for Stem Cell Research meeting in San Francisco.
Michael Jackson estate pays up
The estate of Michael Jackson and entertainment company AEG agreed to contribute $1.3 million to help cover public costs related to the pop star's memorial service last year at Staples Center in Los Angles, officials said Friday. AEG president Timothy Leiweke and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a joint statement that $1 million will be provided to the city's general fund, and the rest of the money will go to the Los Angeles Police Foundation for crime-fighting equipment. AEG owns the Staples Center. Critics took aim at the city for spending $3.2 million to support the memorial service last July 7.
Army hat update
The Rhode Island boy whose school banned a hat he made because the toy soldiers on it carried guns has been awarded a medal for his patriotic efforts. Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio, the retired head of the Rhode Island National Guard, gave 8-year-old David Morales the medal called a challenge coin on Friday. David says it feels great. The second-grader made the hat for a project at Tiogue School in Coventry, gluing plastic soldiers to a camouflage baseball cap. School officials said the hat ran afoul of their no-weapons policy because the Army men held tiny guns.
Driving and texting kings: adults
If you're about to warn your teenager about the dangers of texting or talking on the phone while driving, a new report suggests you look in the mirror first.
A study released Friday by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project says adults and teenagers are equally likely to have texted while driving. And adults are more likely to have chatted on their phones while driving.
The study found that 47 percent of adults who text reported sending or reading texts while behind the wheel. In a 2009 Pew study, a lower number — 34 percent — of 16- and 17-year-olds who send texts said that they did that while driving.
Because not everyone has a phone or sends texts, the report said the findings indicate that 27 percent of all U.S. adults have sent or read texts while driving, and 26 percent of all U.S. 16- and 17-year-olds have done so.
The study also found that adults are much more likely to chat on their phones while driving: 75 percent of adults with mobile phones said they talked and drove. Fifty-two percent of teenagers with cell phones said they did so in last year's study.
Mary Madden, a senior research specialist for Pew and the study's lead author, said that while many educational efforts that emphasize the dangers of distracted driving have targeted teens, the findings show a need to educate adults, too.
The survey used telephone interviews with 2,252 adults between April 29 and May 30. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.