Protect yourself against vision loss

May 30, 2017

This article is from Phil Rego:

Using stem cells to regenerate healthy cells in disease-damaged eyes is the holy grail for researchers. This is especially true for incurable conditions that damage the retina, the layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye.

Earlier this year, a Japanese man became the first person to receive retinal stem cells created from donated skin cells to stop his macular degeneration from getting worse.

And scientists at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles report promising results from transplanting stem cells from embryonic cells into patients who had been blind for decades from AMD and another disease. A study in 2014 reported that 10 of the 18 patients who received the cells experienced significantly improved vision.

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Low Glycemic Diet for AMD

May 21, 2017

Researchers find that switching from a high to a low-glycemic diet may stop age-related eye disease by arresting damage to the retina.

A recent study has shown that the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be slowed by transitioning from a high-glycemic diet to one that is low-glycemic (mouse model). As an example, swapping out white bread for whole grain bread. High-glycemic foods spur the rapid release of sugar into the bloodstream compared to low-glycemic foods. The study was performed by academicians at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center. Results of the study were recently published in PNAS.

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Best Eye Drops for Macular Degeneration

May 12, 2017

Soon, a drop a day might help to keep vision loss at bay. Scientists have said that they may finally have found a treatment that is actually effective for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the number one cause of blindness in the elderly. Best of all, it could be provided in eye drops.

AMD cannot be cured, and there is no truly effective form of treatment either. Ninety percent of people with AMD have ‘dry’ AMD, which is a slowly progressing form of the condition. Wet AMD is different in that it is very rare and progresses very quickly. It is now hoped that the drops will help to provide a real treatment for dry AMD.

The Research

Some 2 million people in this country are currently diagnosed with AMD, according to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A number of studies have taken part in AMD and possible treatment options, with the most famous one being the AREDS (age-related eye disease study) and AREDS 2, which determined that specific supplementation may help slow down the progression of AMD.

Wet AMD, by contrast, requires injections in the eye twice a month. This stops new blood vessels from forming. In most cases, people are injected with Avastin, which is a bevacizumab cancer drug.

The latest research was completed by Tufts University in Massachusetts, under the guidance of Rajendra Kumar-Singh, associate professor of ophthalmology. The work is classed as a ‘proof of concept’ study and was completed on mice. They found that the PPADS (pyridoxalphosphate-6-azophenyl-2′,4′-disolfunic acid) is able to repair damage to the eye caused by AMD.

The mice were first anesthetized, after which tissue damage was induced, as was blood vessel growth. PPADS was then applied every day. From there, researchers observed the eye damage heal over time. According to Kumar-Singh, human trials have not yet commenced. When they do, however, a refined form of PPADS would be used.

It is a known fact that AMD is caused, in part, due to high levels of MAC (membrane attack complex). MAC is a normal part of our immune system, which forms when bacteria invade the system. However, if someone has AMD, MAC targets retina cells as well, leading to loss of vision. PPADS is believed to interfere with MAC, as well as with the growth of new blood vessels. The latter is significant for wet AMD.

It is the first time that there has been any suggestion of a possible cure or even treatment for AMD that is truly effective and that can be applied topically. This means it doesn’t have to be injected or ingested to be effective. Other scientists have expressed to be very intrigued by the results, particularly because it is based on solid scientific evidence.

The study is now available for peer review, as it has been published in an open sourced journal through a non-profit organization. This adds further credence to the validity of both the study and the results. The authors have encouraged people to look into it and to review the findings. They hope that, eventually, an eye drop can be developed that can be self-administered by patients.

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