Research / Studies

A Protein May Predict AMD Risk

The hsCRP Protein can predict future risk of AMD, according to a recent study reported in JAMA Ophthalmology. High levels of hsCRP, a protein made in the liver and fat cells, occur during times of tissue damage, infection and inflammation. In the study, patients were initially free of AMD. Results showed a significantly increased risk of incident AMD for high vs low hsCRP levels. The risk of neovascular AMD also increased among those with high hsCRP levels.



More News on Aspirin and AMD

Although an Australian study suggests that aspirin raises the risk of developing wet macular degeneration, its limitations must be recognized. First of all the risk is very low. Secondly, the researchers did not have full information on why these people took aspirin. Risks and benefits must be evaluated. Dr. Robert Cykiert, M.D.

Report on Effect of Regular Aspirin Use and AMD

The December 19th issue of JAMA reports on the long-term use of aspirin and its effect on the development of macular degeneration. It concludes that “use 5 years prior to observed incidence was not associated with…early or late AMD. However, regular aspirin use 10 years prior was associated with a small but statistically significant increase in the risk of incident late and neovascular AMD.”

Because aspirin is prescribed for cardioprotective effect, the source of the problem must be more thoroughly investigated and studied.


Common Herb May Promote Eye Health

AMD might be slowed or improved by chemicals that fight free radical damage. A study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science reports that carnosic acid, a component of the herb rosemary, protects retinal photreceptors. “Rodents pretreated with carnosic acid retained a thicker outer nuclear layer in the eye, indicating that their photoreceptors were protected.” Tests showed healthier photoreceptor function.



Radiotherapy Reduces Need for Anti-VEGF in Study

Oraya Therapeutics, Inc. issued positive results from the Intrepid trial. Stereotactic radiotherapy reduced the need for anti-VEGF injections by 54% for the patient sub-group characterized by the presence of significant fluid and smaller lesion size. For the full 230 patient cohort it reduced the frequency by 32%. The total procedure time is typically less than 20 minutes. Some patients will be able to go as much as one year without further treatment. The IRay system will be launched shortly in the UK.


Digital Tablets Improve Ability to Read

A presentation at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting highlights a study showing that people with moderate vision loss could increase their reading speed by 15 words per minute by using a digital tablet with a back lit screen.  This improves contrast sensitivity.  “Patients with the poorest vision- defined as 20/40 or worse in both eyes- showed the most improvement in speed when using an iPad or Kindle, compared with print.”  The study was conducted at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey.


AMD Genetic Risk Factors for Irish Population

A study conducted by the Department of Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin and the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, found that the genetic risk factors for AMD in the Irish population were at high levels.

When reading about the Irish genetic predisposition for age-related macular degeneration headlined in the Irish Times October 5, 2012, keep these facts in mind:  “The research found that these genetic risk factors were present in the Irish population at high levels, similar to other heavily-affected areas such as mainland Europe and the U.S.”

Dry AMD Stem Cell Clinical Trial

The first patient in a clinical trial for dry age-related macular degeneration has been enrolled and transplanted with purified human neural stem cells. The HucCNS-SC cells protect host photoreceptors and preserve vision. The phase 1/11 trial will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of these cells as a treatment for dry AMD. 16 patients will be evaluated for a total of five years.



Prosthetic Retina Helps to Restore Sight in Mice

The retina encodes light into neural signals. Sheila Nirenberg, physiologist at Weill Medical College, Cornell University, NY, has developed a code and a device that uses it to restore some sight in blind mice. By inserting a gene into a virus and injecting it into nerve cells in the retina and shining light into the eye they noted the mice were able to track moving stripes, something they could not do before receiving the encoded input. A microchip and a small video camera on a pair of glasses would be the instruments to create this prosthetic retina.

FDA Approves Eylea- Alternative To Lucentis With Less Injections

The FDA approved injection Eylea (afilbercept), formerly called VEGF Trap-Eye, has been shown to be as effective as Lucentis for treatment of AMD, according to a 96-week study of 2,412 patients, conducted by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. After a 3 month period of once a month dosing, Eylea can be given every 8 weeks, resulting in half as many injections as Lucentis. Sales have climbed considerably.


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