ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
CANCER
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
EYE CARE, VISION
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Eating Fish, Breast-Feeding Boost Infant Development
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
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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.