ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
CANCER
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Retail Clinics Attracting Those Without Regular Doctors
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
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
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Broccoli May Help Battle 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.