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Inflammation Marker Implicated in Eye Disease Risk

Posted Mar 05 2013 10:09pm
Posted on March 4, 2013, 6 a.m. in Age-related Macular Degeneration Inflammation

A number of previous studies establish that inflammation plays a role in the origin of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in aging.  Precursor tissues of AMD have been shown to contain a variety of pro-inflammatory proteins, including fibrinogen, vitronectin, and complement components, as well as C-reactive protein (CRP).  High-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) has been widely used as a marker of systemic inflammation.  Debra A. Schaumberg, from the Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues completed a pooled analysis of prospective nested case-control data from the Women's Health Study, the Physicians' Health Study, Women's Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study, Nurses' Health Study, and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.  Study subjects were initially free of AMD, with 647 incident cases of AMD prospectively identified to which the investigators matched control subjects.  The team measured  hsCRP in baseline blood samples, and modeled the relationship between hsCRP and AMD.  They found that high levels of hsCRP predicted an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), including neovascular AMD.  Writing that: “Overall, these pooled findings from 5 prospective cohorts add further evidence that elevated levels of [high-sensitivity C-reactive protein] predict greater future risk of [age-related macular degeneration],” the study authors submit that: “This information might shed light on underlying mechanisms and could be of clinical utility in the identification of persons at high risk of AMD who may benefit from increased adherence to lifestyle recommendations, eye examination schedules, and therapeutic protocols.”

Mitta VP, Christen WG, Glynn RJ, Semba RD, Ridker PM, Rimm EB, Hankinson SE, Schaumberg DA.  “C-Reactive Protein and the Incidence of Macular Degeneration: Pooled Analysis of 5 Cohorts.”  JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013 Feb 7:1-7.

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Tip #130 - Do the Quick Step
Walking is an excellent physical activity for aging men and women. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Pennsylvania, USA) researchers reported that older adults who boost their walking speed over time live longer. The team followed 439 adults, ages 65 and over, and found those who improved their walking speed over a one-year period were 18% less likely to die over the next eight years. Interestingly, the study found that walking speed during the first year of study was the only factor to predict the subjects’ long-term survival; other tests of physical health, and self-assessment surveys, did not.

Whenever possible, pick up the pace when walking. Whereas an average walking pace is close to a 15 minute mile, a good fitness pace will vary depending on your fitness level, walking technique, walking goals, and terrain. For general fitness walking you should try to walk at a pace that increases your heart rate, and that you can maintain for 30 to 60 minutes. Use the talk test: If you can't speak without gasping for air you are walking too fast. If you are walking slow enough that you can carry a tune you are probably walking too slow.

Consult an anti-aging physician to construct an exercise regimen that is appropriate for your medical needs.
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