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
Why might reading make myopic?
18.07.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences
19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences