Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Macular Degeneration Risk & Belly Fat

Abdominal "belly fat" may increases the risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in middle-age men but may have the opposite effect in women, according to researchers reporting on a study in the March 2011 American Journal of Epidemiology. AMD is a leading cause of blindness in older people, and treatment options are limited. An Australian study on Abdominal Obesity followed 21,287 from their 40s to mid-80s and found that each 0.1 increase in the waist/hip ratio was associated with a 13% increased chance of developing early-stage AMD and a 75% increased chance of the more severe late-stage AMD, but only in men. Abdominal obesity actually reduced early AMD risk in women by 7% to 11%. There were 2,694 early and 122 late cases of AMD in the study, which followed the incidences of AMD from 2003 to 2007. The researchers suggest that abdominal fat releases estrogen and other chemicals that may contribute to inflammation associated with AMD while the inverse association in women could reflect a genetic resilience to disease seen in older people called the survivorship effect plus the protective effects of long-term estrogen exposure, they said. However, specific information about the onset and duration of obesity wasn't considered and the AMD was only measured at follow-up, so the progression of the disease wasn't tracked.

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