The 'See Food' Diet
July 24, 2009
Adapted from the American Journal of Pathology
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), loss of vision in the center of the visual field (macula) due to retinal damage, is one of the leading causes of legal blindness among the elderly. Approximately 10% of people from 66 to 74 years of age will develop some level of macular degeneration, making it difficult for them to read or even recognize faces.
A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids has been found to protect against a variety of diseases including atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Retrospective studies have suggested that diets high in fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids may also contribute to protection against AMD. A group led by Dr. Chi-Chao Chan at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, MD examined the direct effect of omega-3 fatty acids on a mouse model of AMD. A diet with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids resulted in slower lesion progression, with improvement in some lesions. These mice had lower levels of inflammatory molecules and higher levels of anti-inflammatory molecules, which may explain this protective effect.
Dr. J. Tuo, one of the authors participating in this study, and his colleagues suggest the results "further provide the scientific basis for the application of omega-3 fatty acids and their biologically active derivatives in the prevention and treatment of AMD." In future studies, Dr. Chan and colleagues plan to use this mouse model "to evaluate [other] therapies that might delay the development of AMD."
The report appears in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Pathology.
On behalf of its donors, Macular Degeneration Research (MDR), a program of the BrightFocus Foundation, is proud to have funded Dr. Chan for this very important work.
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