ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
CANCER
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
CAREGIVING
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Aging Brain
Herb Shows Potential for Rheumatoid Arthriti
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
Pollution Particles Impair Blood Vessel Function
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
FITNESS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
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Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors who perform poorly on tests of language, memory and concentration are more likely to be suffering from the early stages of age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of vision loss, a new study suggests.

The finding stems from a look at the association between cognitive function decline and the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) among approximately 2,000 Australian seniors between the ages of 69 and 97.

"We found that those who have memory impairment were more likely to have early stages of macular degeneration independent of the effects of age, education and vascular risk factors," said study co-author Dr. Tien Yin Wong, a professor in the department of ophthalmology within the Centre for Eye Research Australia at the University of Melbourne.

Wong and his colleagues published the findings in the May issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among the elderly. The researchers note that prior research has suggested that Alzheimer's disease and AMD share similar developmental pathways in terms of protein build-up and brain and eye changes.

The authors' current observations are drawn from an analysis of retinal photographs taken of study participants (more than 80 percent white and all enrolled in a larger cardiovascular health study), from which a diagnosis of early-stage AMD was made.

Those diagnoses were lined up against results of cognitive function and neuropsychological tests designed to assess each subject's abilities in terms of concentration, language, memory and orientation skills. Most were also tested for dementia and cardiovascular risk factors.

The researchers determined that nearly 16 percent of the participants had early AMD, while 135 and 86 patients were diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's disease, respectively.

Having dementia and/or Alzheimer's was not linked to an increased likelihood for early AMD. However, the authors found that an AMD diagnosis was associated with having poorer scores on cognitive testing -- a trend deemed small but "significant."

"Our study suggests that there may be common links in the cause and risk factors for both conditions," Wong said. "They further raise the possibility that preventive and treatment strategies targeted at one condition may be useful for another." They did not suggest that having AMD causes dementia.

Dr. Demetrios Vavvas, a specialist in AMD at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, agreed that "there's probably something common between the two problems."

"As a retinal physician I'm already alert that these people are older, and they might have cognitive decline," he noted. "So certainly there may be a common pathogenesis between these two diseases."

"To say there is a mild correlation between these two diseases is along expected lines from what we know from previous studies," said Vavvas. "But I don't think this changes my day-to-day clinical approach to our patients."

The same issue of the journal included two additional Australian studies -- one from the University of Sydney and the other from the Centre for Eye Research -- that indicate that AMD risk can be reduced by avoiding trans fats and by regularly consuming fish, nuts, olive oil and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids.

More information

For additional information and resources on macular degeneration, visit the National Eye Institute.