AMD and Dementia

Age related macular degeneration and cognitive impairment may share similar complex development and risk factors, according to Michelle L. Baker, M.D., of the University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The study, aimed at describing the association of cognitive function and dementia with early AMD of older individuals, assessed 2,088 individuals ages 69 to 97.* Participants underwent cognitive testing, retinal photography for the detection of AMD and an extensive assessment of artery disease and its risk factors, including blood pressure, smoking status and body mass index. An association was found between low cognitive function and early AMD in this older population. AMD has long been thought to share a common pathway with Alzheimer’s disease. Both conditions involve similar changes in the brain and eye. Clinical studies suggest that AMD and Alzheimer’s disease share similar vascular risk factors, such as hypertension and cigarette smoking.

*Michelle L. Baker, MD; Jie Jin Wang, MMed, PhD; Sophie Rogers, MEpi; Ronald Klein, MD, MPH; Lewis H. Kuller, MD, DrPH; Emily K. Larsen, MS; Tien Yin Wong, MD, PhD. “Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Cognitive Function, and Dementia.” Archives of Ophthalmology. 2009; 127 (5) : 667-673.

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