SEATTLE, June 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Using a high-output camera to film the
back of the human eye, for the first time researchers have shown that a
nutraceutical matrix can effectively remove cellular debris from the human
eye that accumulates with advancing age and correlated this with
significant improvement in visual acuity and night vision in an 80-year-old
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The accumulation of cellular debris in the retina is believed to be the first sign of age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that robs senior adults of their central vision used for reading or driving, for which there is no cure.
Dr. Stuart Richer OD, PhD, Chief, Optometry Section at the Veterans Medical Center in North Chicago, speaking at the 111th annual American Academy of Optometry meeting in Seattle, says this may be the first time an intervention has been shown to reverse aging changes in the retina.
The patient, an 80-year-old male, came to the eye clinic complaining of loss of night vision. Commonly prescribed nutraceuticals, such as lutein, vitamin E and fish oil were employed with no positive result.
After 5 months on the dietary supplement regimen, five measurable parameters of vision improved to varying but significant degrees including night (contrast) vision, visual acuity, color and side vision. Upon testing, it was also found the patient's mental capacity had improved. The patient said, "My night vision and thinking have gotten much better."
The underlying cause
A broad body of evidence exists to assert the claim that the human eye and all other organs "rust and calcify" with advancing age. Dr. Richer prescribed a nutraceutical matrix (Longevinex(R) -pronounced long-jev-in-ex) designed to remove excess minerals by a process called chelation (key-lay-shun), particularly calcium, iron and copper, that build up in retinal tissues over time.
Dr. Richer explains that the retina of the eye begins to show signs of retinal aging, usually beginning in the third decade of life, with the progressive accumulation of lipofuscin, the medical term for cellular "garbage" that pollutes cells as they age. Researchers believe lipofuscin is not an innocent bystander -- that it generates free radicals, gene mutations and even cell death.
The use of natural iron-chelating polyphenolic molecules, such as resveratrol, quercetin and rice bran employed in this case, has been proposed as an intervention that addresses a wide range of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cardiovascular and immune compromised disease. These molecules work by their mineral chelating (key-lay-ting) properties.
Older patients can't wait for a cure
Dr. Richer says this case may serve as an early example of the potential for molecular medicine to make an impact in eye care. "While only one case, these patients do not have time to wait for controlled long-term studies and 'best available evidence' needs to be employed, given there are no foreseeable side effects or undue cost."
While Dr. Richer says this is not a proven cure yet, he thinks modern medicine may soon be able to prevent the onset of age-related retinal disease decades before vision is lost.
Macular degeneration: the numbers
Macular degeneration of the human eye is prevalent among senior Americans. About two-thirds of the 37 million senior adults in the U.S. exhibit signs of the retinal disease and about 9% of these subjects (~2.5 million) will eventually lose some central vision. Patients with macular degeneration do not go completely blind as they generally retain their side vision. Only their central vision for reading and driving is impaired.
If this paper foretells what is to come, at-risk adults may soon be able to obtain a non-invasive retinal/lipofuscin assessment many decades prior to the development of macular degeneration and even determine which therapies may exert a preventive or reversing effect.
Furthermore, it becomes evident that by measuring lipofuscin deposits, that not only the biological age of the human eye can be assessed apart from its chronological (calendar) age, but that such measurement may serve to help determine the biological age and the "speed of aging" of an individual. Lipofuscin accumulates in all tissues of the body with advancing age. System-wide age-reversing effects could also be estimated in this non-invasive manner. With this discovery optometry offices may soon become anti-aging centers.
This case presentation is scheduled to be published later in the year (2008) in Optometry-Journal of the American Optometric Association. Dr. Richer has no financial interest in the product. Resveratrol Partners LLC, makers of patent-pending Longevinex(R), provided the nutraceuticals for this patient. You are invited to visit http://www.longevinex.com to learn more about Longevinex(R).
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