Alzheimer’s disease and a disease that causes vision loss, called age-related macular degeneration, may share common origins, according to Dutch scientists.
Age-related maculopathy (ARM) is an irreversible, incurable disease in which the retina of the eye breaks down. It is an important cause of vision loss among many elderly Americans, and affects about 8% of people over the age of 75 in the Netherlands, according to researchers from Erasmus University Medical School in Rotterdam.
Researchers team looked at the link between Alzheimer’s disease and ARM over a 4-year period in 1,438 adults over the age of 75, who were enrolled in the Rotterdam Study.
They found that patients with advanced ARM were more than twice as likely as others to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
The association between the two diseases “depends partly on smoking and (hardening of the arteries), which are important risk factors for both,” researchers conclude.