The leading cause of vision loss in the elderly occurs when the central region of the retina, the macula deteriorates. This is known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD
Now, Queen’s Professor Anne Hughes and her team in Medical Genetics and Vision Sciences at the Royal Victoria Hospital have reported the risk of AMD in old age can be predicted from a combination of genes and smoking levels.
Professor Hughes said: “The macula is the tissue at the back of the eye that converts light into electrical messages and sends them into the brain. AMD destroys the central vision that is needed for reading and driving, leaving only dim, blurred images or a black hole at the centre of vision.
“In our study of 401 AMD patients and 266 people with good vision, we found it is possible to predict an individual’s risk of developing AMD. We asked each person about their smoking status and catalogued inherited sequence variations within their DNA. We also examined groups of genetic variants known as haplotypes which are present on chromosomes.
“Our research confirmed the two most important gene regions that affect AMD risk. Until we learn more about how these genes act, it will be difficult to prevent the degeneration of the macula. What is clear in the meantime though, is that those at high genetic risk of AMD should try to control their smoking.”
Professor Hughes added: “Our plans for the future include identifying additional AMD genes and explaining the pathways that are important for maintaining healthy eyes. Then it may become possible to prevent AMD or delay its onset.
“The results of this research provide physicians with a way to identify those at the highest genetic risk of developing AMD. They can then step up their efforts to persuade these people to avoid smoking, thereby more than halving their risk of becoming blind.
“In the future, when effective long term treatments for AMD become available, the risk scoring system could also help doctors decide which of their elderly patients should be monitored most intensively for the early signs of AMD. They can then be treated before their vision is irreversibly damaged.”
Lisa Mitchell | alfa
Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University
Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
26.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences