Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How Vitamin D may combat eye disease in women

Lots of warning bells here: Why only in women? Why was Vitamin D from sunlight ineffective? I think all that they have shown is that middle class women are more likely to take supplements and they are healthier anyway

An eye disease that causes partial blindness may be prevented in women by taking vitamin D supplements. Taking the vitamin could ward off vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in women younger than 75, research has shown.

Higher levels of Vitamin D were associated with a significant decreased risk of AMD, a condition which is caused by progressive damage to the centre of the retina at the back of the eye.

AMD affects about 2 per cent of people over the age of 50 in developed countries and more than 230,000 sufferers in the UK are thought to be partially blind because of the disease.

The data of 1,313 women who took part in a large-scale investigation of the disease was examined by researchers in the US. They found that in women younger than 75, both vitamin D blood levels and consumption of the vitamin from food sources and supplements were linked to a reduced risk of early AMD. They also found that women with the highest vitamin D intake were 59 per cent less likely to develop the disease than those with the lowest.

However, these results did not apply to vitamin D absorbed via sunlight - the association was only seen with women who consumed the vitamin in foods and supplements. Researchers found that time spent in the sun did not affect risk levels, even though the most important source of vitamin D is it generation in the skin as a reaction to sunlight.

In the study, it was discovered the top food sources among the participants were milk, fish, fortified margarine and fortified cereal.

The scientists, led by Dr Amy Millen, from Buffalo University, New York, wrote in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology: 'More studies are needed to verify this association as well as to better understand the potential interaction between vitamin D status and genetic and lifestyle factors with respect to risk of early AMD.'


Drinking during pregnancy 'triples risk of premature birth' (?)

Here we go again: WHO are the heavy drinkers? Mostly working class people who are less healthy anyway

Women who drink during pregnancy are up to three times more likely to give birth to a very premature baby, doctors have warned. Exposure to alcohol in the womb also raises the odds of the baby being born underweight. And it increases the chance of the newborn dying shortly after birth, the study found.

The warnings come from Irish researchers, who questioned more than 60,000 new mothers in Dublin about how much they drank around the time of conception and in the first weeks of pregnancy. Some 81 per cent admitted to having drunk some alcohol – with heavy drinking linked to unplanned pregnancies. [Funnily enough!]

Heavy drinkers – those who got through at least 20 units of alcohol a week, or one large glass of wine a day during pregnancy – ran three times as high a risk as the tee-totallers of giving birth very prematurely.

Their babies were also around 50 per cent more likely to be born very underweight and to die around the time of birth, the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth reports.

The researchers reported three cases of foetal alcohol syndrome, a condition which sees alcohol in the womb cause a range of problems, from facial abnormalities and stunted growth to learning difficulties and hyperactivity.

One of these cases involved a baby born to a light drinker.

The Trinity College Dublin researchers said: ‘Further research is required specifically addressing the effects of low alcohol intake in pregnancy before it can be considered safe.’

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence advises women to avoid alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy. The Department of Health urges expectant mothers to abstain totally.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is so much wrong with this it is hard to know where to start. Foetal alcohol syndrome in the baby of a light drinker? I question the diagnostic skills of the attending physician.