ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
CANCER
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
CAREGIVING
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Mutation May Cause Some Cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder
FDA Faulted for Stance on Chemical in Plastics
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
FITNESS
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Kids More Apt to Smoke If Mom Did While Pregnant
Can a Bad Boss Make You Sick?
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
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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.