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Eye tests are an acknowledged and important way for assessing the sight of adults and children alike…but why do we use the tests that we do, and how do they work?

In this special edition of Visions produced by Masters students at the University of Melbourne who are completing science communication studies, we take a closer look behind the scenes of OPSM’s recent “Penny the Pirate” eye-test book for children and analyse the science involved.

3 min 5 sec
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Is medical tourism all that it appears?  

Visions takes a closer look at the trend of people seeking experimental treatments overseas that are currently not approved in Australia. Some of these include patients paying for stem cell treatments for diseases as varied as cancers, MS and Parkinsons. 

Such experimental treatment can be risky with little reward, according to University of Melbourne Professor Trevor Kilpatrick, the Director of the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute and the Centre for Neuroscience Research.

3 min 45 sec
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/7YhVlLhaC2E?autoplay=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><h2 class="node-title">Wind In The Sails</h2><a href="/node/1764" class="button">Read more</a>

Visions this week takes to the high seas with researchers from the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, who work with disabled patients and teach them how to sail. 

Professor Norman Saunders and PhD Candidate Maree Ellul are helping disabled people to sail, working with the Victorian Spinal Cord Service at Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre and Docklands Sailing Club.  

3 min 44 sec
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New research has found English-speaking white people are more likely to 'self-segregate' or 'stick together' in public spaces.

The study explored the role of public spaces in promoting understanding and contact between different racial groups through short-term observation in three localities across Melbourne.

A total of 974 people were observed, with most occurring in sports settings (40.7 per cent), shopping centres (24.9 per cent) and libraries. 

It was found that public spaces within Australian communities encouraged social dynamics that reinforce racial segregation and isolation of racial minority groups.

2 min 47 sec
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The University of Melbourne has quit smoking.

From World Cancer Day 2014, the University went tobacco-free on university grounds, prohibited campus businesses from selling cigarettes and vowed not to invest in tobacco companies. 

The aim is to provide a healthier environment for staff, students and visitors. VISIONS explores the change, the body of research behind it, and investigates the future of tobacco research.

Watch this video for secret instructions on how to win a real life cold turkey. No joke. 

3 min 53 sec
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A world-first study launched recently will investigate the genetic basis of singing in twins.  Led by the University of Melbourne and the Australian Twin Registry, the study will explore if it is nature or nurture that most influences whether we can sing a pitch-perfect tune. 

3 min 26 sec
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Visions takes a closer look at a small device that when implanted in the brain can accurately predict epilepsy seizures in humans.

3 min 27 sec