How To Prevent Age-related Blindness

Lots of people are gradually losing their sight from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in the elderly, but now this condition can be remedied.

New research found that daily consumption of coffee teamed with a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables, have a protective effect on the eye and can ward off ............
AMD in the elderly.

The Researchers studied a Portuguese population to see whether sticking to the diet affected people’s risk of AMD.

Their findings revealed a significant reduction in risk in those who ate a Mediterranean diet, particularly among those who consumed more fruit and caffeine.

Experts at the University of Coimbra in Portugal studied 883 people aged 55 and older. They found that among those who closely followed the diet, 39 percent went on to develop AMD, in comparison to half of those who did not stick to the diet.

Study author Dr Rufino Silva said coffee was a key, yet underestimated, element of the so-called Mediterranean diet.

He said participants who drank “high levels” of coffee –78mg a day, the equivalent of one shot of espresso – were far less likely to suffer vision disease.

Just 45 per cent of those who drank this amount a day went on to develop AMD compared with 55 per cent of those who did not.

While caffeine is not considered part of the Mediterranean diet, consumption of foods containing caffeine, such as coffee and tea is common in such countries.

The researchers opted to look at caffeine because it is a powerful antioxidant also known to be protective against other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr David Allamby, a laser eye surgeon and medical director at London’s Focus Clinic, said: “While the debate rages about the positives and negatives of coffee, this latest research is not surprising.

“A cup of coffee is typically full of nutrients, such as pantothenic acid, vitamin B2, potassium and manganese, while it’s also a powerful antioxidant.

“All of this, as has been proved by the scientists in Portugal, is going to aid eye health, and pushes coffee ever further towards ‘superfood’ status, although this might presently be a well-kept secret.”

A similar research found that women over 65 who drink two or three cups of coffee a day reduce their risk of dementia by more than a third.

The findings among a group of older women showed self-reported caffeine consumption of more than 261 mg per day was associated with a 36 per cent reduction in the risk of dementia over 10 years of follow-up.

The researchers said the level of caffeine consumption is equivalent to two to three 8-oz cups of coffee per day, five to six 8-oz cups of black tea, or seven to eight 12-ounce cans of cola.

Study lead author Professor Ira Driscoll, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Us, said: “The mounting evidence of caffeine consumption as a potentially protective factor against cognitive impairment is exciting given that caffeine is also an easily modifiable dietary factor with very few contraindications.

“What is unique about this study is that we had an unprecedented opportunity to examine the relationships between caffeine intake and dementia incipowerdence
in a large and well-defined, prospectively-studied cohort of women.”

Prof Driscoll and her research colleagues used data from 6,467 community-dwelling, post-menopausalwomen aged 65 or older who reported some level of caffeine consumption.

Their intake was estimated from questions about coffee, tea, and cola drink consumption, including frequency and serving size.

In 10 years or less of follow-up with annual assessments of cognitive function, 388 of the women received a diagnosis of probable dementia or some form of cognitive impairment.

Those who consumed above the median amount of caffeine for the group – with an average intake of 261 mg per day – were diagnosed at a lower rate than those who fell below the median- with an average intake of 64 mg per day.

The researchers adjusted for risk factors such as hormone therapy, age, race, education, body mass index (BMI), sleep quality, depression, hypertension, prior cardiovascular disease, diabetes, smoking, and alcohol consumption.




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