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Study shows pine bark improves circulation, swelling and visual acuity in early diabetic retinopathy
Date:12/2/2009

(Dec. 2, 2009) HOBOKEN, NJ According to the National Institute of Health, 40 percent to 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes already have some stage of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy, damage to the retina caused by leaky blood vessels, is a major cause of blindness in people with diabetes and is one of the most feared diabetic complications. In fact, up to 80 percent of all patients who've had diabetes for 10 years or more will experience some form of diabetic retinopathy.

A recent study published in the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics reveals Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, can improve microcirculation, retinal edema and visual acuity in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy.

"Previous research has shown that Pycnogenol may reduce the progressing advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy," said Dr. Robert Steigerwalt, a lead researcher of the study. "While previous studies focused on the latent stages of diabetic retinopathy, the aim of this new study was to show the protective effects of Pycnogenol in the early stages of this growing diabetic complication."

The randomized controlled study, conducted by G D'Annunzio University in Italy, investigated a total of 46 diabetic patients over a period of three months. The Pycnogenol treatment group consisted of 24 patients, with 22 patients placed in a placebo treatment group. Each of the patients had been previously diagnosed with diabetes for at least four years prior to participating in the study and their blood glucose was well controlled by diet and oral anti-diabetic medication. Patients had early stage retinopathy characterized by capillaries in the eye leaking fluid into the retina causing swellings. At this stage only minor bleedings into the retina occur and damage to light-sensing cells may still remain largely reversible.

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Source:Eurekalert  

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