Monday November 18, 2019

Consuming Mediterranean Diet Prevents Risk of Age-related Blindness

The entire pattern of eating a nutrient-rich diet, instead of individual food varieties such as fish, fruits and vegetables, helps significantly curb the risk of late AMD, the researchers noted

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Mediterranean Food, (representational Image) Wikimedia

Consuming a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes, olive oil, seeds, fish, low saturated fat, dairy products and red meat can help prevent potential blindness in later stages of life, a study has found.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative eye disease and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older.

It causes loss of central vision, which is crucial for simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, and write.

In analysing the connection between genes and lifestyle on the development of AMD, researchers from the European Union found that people who adhered to a Mediterranean diet cut their risk of late-stage AMD by 41 per cent.

The findings, published in the journal Ophthalmology, expands on previous studies and suggests that such a diet is beneficial for everyone, whether you already have the disease or are at risk of developing it.

Mediterranean Diet
Mediterranean Diet. Pixabay

“I believe this is a public health issue on the same scale as smoking. Chronic diseases such as AMD, dementia, obesity, and diabetes, all have roots in poor dietary habits. It’s time to take quitting a poor diet as seriously as quitting smoking,” said Emily Chew, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Previous research has linked Mediterranean diet to a longer lifespan and a reduced incidence of heart disease and cognitive decline.

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For the new study, the team analysed food-frequency questionnaires from nearly 5,000 people who participated in two investigations focused separately on disease risks in people aged 55 and older and the links between eye diseases and nutritional factors in people aged 73 and older.

The entire pattern of eating a nutrient-rich diet, instead of individual food varieties such as fish, fruits and vegetables, helps significantly curb the risk of late AMD, the researchers noted. (IANS)

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Researchers Find Cells Linked to Blindness in Elderly People

This study helps pinpoint cell types that can be investigated closely to develop new types of therapeutics

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Bindness
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of Blindness in the elderly. Pixabay

A team of researchers have discovered cells that lead to progressive loss of central vision among the elderly.

Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in the elderly.

Genome-wide studies have identified almost three dozen genes that play a role in the disease, but exactly where in the eye they inflict damage was not well known.

Researchers from Yale University, the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University reported in the journal Nature Communications that glial cells (or support cells), and vasculature cells tasked with providing blood to the retina as well as cone cells contribute to degeneration of the macula, in the central part of the retina.

“This study helps pinpoint cell types that can be investigated closely to develop new types of therapeutics,” said Brian Hafler, assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual science and of pathology at Yale.

There are a limited number of effective long-term treatments available for the two forms of macular degeneration.

The wet form is caused by growth of abnormal blood vessels underneath the macula, which can be mitigated by regular injections in the eye.

Blindness
While genes associated with the risk of developing macular degeneration had been identified, the team used new single-cell sequencing to generate the first comprehensive human retinal atlas and employed data analysis technology to localize their effects to specific cell types associated with Blindness. Pixabay

Other than eye vitamin supplements, there is no treatment for the dry form of the disease, which is marked by accumulations of yellow deposits called drusen in the macula.

While current treatments provide some benefits, over time there can be a continued, progressive loss of vision in both forms of the disease.

While genes associated with the risk of developing macular degeneration had been identified, the team used new single-cell sequencing to generate the first comprehensive human retinal atlas and employed data analysis technology to localize their effects to specific cell types associated with the disease.

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While they found risk genes associated with cones, the cell type key to central vision, the researchers also found an association with glial and vascular cells — providing possible targets for novel therapies to improve and restore vision. (IANS)