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Mutated Gene and Bad Habits can Lead to Age-related Macular Degeneration

Blame it on your genes and yourself too. Scientists, lead by Dr Debra A. Schaumberg from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston,// US, have reported that the presence of a gene mutation as well as risk factors like smoking and obesity increase the chance of developing age-related macular degeneration.

The gene mutation :complement factor H (CFH Y402H) mentioned in the Archives of Ophthalmology, has been studied and shown to lead to AMD which is a potentially blinding eye disorder.

Schaumberg's team studied how genes and lifestyle interact to increase the risk of AMD in 457 men and women with AMD and 1071 "controls," subjects of the same age without AMD. All of these individuals have been followed regularly since the late 1970s or 1980s as part of either the Nurses' Health Study or the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. According to the report, individuals with one or two copies of the CFH mutation were nearly twice and four times, respectively, more likely to develop AMD.

Says Schaumberg, "Although the identification of the genetic risk factors is a milestone in our understanding of macular degeneration, we should not forget the importance of the 'traditional' risk factors such as smoking and obesity. These are the factors that a person can do something about now. Never start smoking, or stop if you already have; eat well to prevent obesity, or lose weight if already obese."


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