Prozac could treat an eye condition that affects half a million people, analysis suggests

Prozac may be the first treatment for an eye condition that affects over half a million people in the UK and causes blurred or limited vision.

That’s the suggestion of data analysis showing that people who regularly take the antidepressant are 15 percent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Animal research by the same team of scientists who analyzed the data also found that the drug — which costs £2 per pill — slows the rate at which AMD progresses.

The researchers suggest the findings could lead the widely available drug to become the first treatment for dry form of AMD.

The condition, which mainly affects people over the age of 50 and 60, is caused by damage to the retina, the layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye that sends images to the brain.

Prozac may be the first treatment for an eye condition that affects more than half a million people in the UK and causes blurred or limited vision

There are two forms; dry and wet AMD. In the dry form, which accounts for about nine out of ten cases, there is a slow deterioration of the cells in the central part of the retina, an area called the macula, often over many years as the retinal cells die and to be interrupted. not renewed as we age.

Wet AMD is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the back of the eyes and happens much more quickly because blood vessels leak fluid or blood into the macula. Drugs can help stop the growth of these blood vessels by blocking signals the body sends to generate new blood vessels.

Both forms of AMD can make things like reading and recognizing faces more difficult.

While some or all of the central vision may be affected by both types, peripheral vision remains normal. For example, when someone with AMD looks at a watch face, they may see the numbers, but not the hands.

And straight lines, like doors or lampposts, can appear wavy, curved, or distorted. The exact cause of dry AMD is unknown, although it is linked to smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and a family history of the condition.

While some or all of the central vision may be affected by both types, peripheral vision remains normal.  For example, when someone with AMD looks at a watch face, they may see the numbers but not the hands

While some or all of the central vision may be affected by both types, peripheral vision remains normal. For example, when someone with AMD looks at a watch face, they may see the numbers but not the hands

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine examined data from more than 100 million adults and found a 15% reduced risk of AMD in those who received fluoxetine (brand name Prozac), according to results published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. from the US

Follow-up studies in animals confirmed that the drug slowed vision loss by sticking to immune system compounds called inflammasomes. These are thought to cause inflammation that leads to the breakdown of the surface layer of the retina. Researchers suggest the drug can either be taken as a daily pill or packaged in a slow-release implant in the eye.

Commenting on the study, Gwyn Williams, a consultant ophthalmologist at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, said: ‘This is certainly an interesting finding.

AMD is arguably one of the biggest health challenges we face. Human trials would show if there’s a clinically relevant discovery here, and we have to remember that antidepressants have side effects, so any benefits should be significant enough to outweigh the risks.”

The spice curcumin, a component of turmeric, may be effective against the dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), reports the journal Neural Regeneration Research.

Researchers from the University of Madrid reviewed the evidence for a wide variety of plants and natural products that have been studied as treatments for AMD, including saffron, ginkgo, bilberry and bilberry, curcumin, turmeric, and vitamins C and E.

The researchers said curcumin had stronger evidence of this to support its use, but clinical trials are needed.

When a solar flare is the cause of your cold

Your risk of catching a cold may be higher on days when there are flares or other variations in the sun’s activity, a Harvard University study suggests.

When scientists compared 13 years of weather data with details of white blood cell counts (a measure of immune activity) over the same period, they found that increased solar wind and fluctuations in Earth’s magnetic field were associated with lower white blood cell counts.

In the journal Environmental Research, scientists wrote that this effect was related to the changes that “solar and geomagnetic activity” had on the biological clock.

Combining opioid painkillers with a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine could prevent patients from becoming addicted to the drugs, a study from California University in the US suggests. still relieve pain, the journal Pharmaceuticals reports.

Ice cube treatment for taste loss after Covid

Sucking an ice cube is being tested as part of a four-pronged approach to tackle loss of taste and smell after Covid-19.

In an eight-week trial led by the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia, patients will receive insulin (thought to regenerate nasal receptors), zinc (to boost taste), and gabapentin (to protect electrical signals from damaged taste receptors). and odor receptors).

They are also asked to put a small ice cube in their mouth for a minute three times a day (to stimulate the taste buds).

Sucking an ice cube is being tested as part of a four-pronged approach to tackle loss of taste and smell after Covid-19

Sucking an ice cube is being tested as part of a four-pronged approach to tackle loss of taste and smell after Covid-19

Waterjet pen to draw your blood instead of needle

Engineers in New Zealand have developed a needle-free device that uses mini-jets of water to monitor blood sugar levels.

The technology was originally designed as a way to deliver medication – the short, blunt pen-like device produces a thin but powerful stream of water that has been proven to deliver anesthetic in liquid form 20mm into the skin.

Now, the scientists at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute have shown it also works almost as effectively as a standard needle, according to the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, with the jet of water strong enough to break the skin like a lancet would.

The researchers hope that the same device can also inject insulin.

Hi-tech gel can speed up knee recovery

A gel that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light accelerates the healing of damaged knee cartilage by acting as a scaffold for cells to grow on.

Cartilage acts as a shock absorber in joints, but cannot regenerate naturally. New cartilage cells can be surgically implanted in the damaged area, but they tend to migrate.

The new gel is designed to solve this problem. Once loaded with new cartilage cells, the gel is inserted through keyhole surgery. UV light is then applied to trigger the curing process, holding the cells in place.

A recent animal study at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, published in the journal Science Advances, found that after treatment with the gel, cartilage problems healed well within six months.

Disgusting Remedies

Medical treatments that turn your stomach. This week: Lowering blood to lower iron levels

In the Middle Ages, bloodletting was used as a treatment for everything from epilepsy to gout – today it’s used to lower iron levels in the blood or to treat people with thicker blood due to extra red blood cells. But where it once involved cutting a vein and making it bleed, the process is now the same as giving blood.

‘The treatment is known as therapeutic vein section and involves removing about 450ml of blood from a vein – usually in the elbow,’ explains Dr Jonathan Cullis, a hematologist consultant at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

Therapeutic bloodletting is most commonly used to treat genetic hemochromatosis, which affects about 250,000 Britons (although not all of them require treatment) and causes a build-up of iron in the blood. This can lead to liver scarring and heart failure. Blood draws will initially take place weekly for a year, then four times a year.

try this

The Bath Alchemist Apple Cider Vinegar Wellness Tonic No 2 is infused with turmeric and ginger. The infusion preserves ‘the mother’, a sediment containing gut-friendly bacteria – £12.95, 240ml, thebathalchemist.com

Secrets of an A-List Body

How to get the enviable physique of the stars. This week: Amanda Holden’s biceps

Amanda Holden showed off her toned biceps as she took an invigorating dip in the sea over the weekend

Amanda Holden showed off her toned biceps as she took an invigorating dip in the sea over the weekend

Amanda Holden showed off her toned biceps when she took an invigorating dip in the sea over the weekend.

The 50-year-old swears by yoga, running, home workouts and long walks.

What to try: The Zottman curl.

Hold a dumbbell or water bottle in each hand, arms at your sides.

Slowly curl the weights up toward your shoulders without moving the upper arms, and with your palms facing forward.

Rotate the wrists so that the palms face away and slowly lower the weights.

Rotate the wrists back to the starting position.

That’s one repetition.

Do four sets of 12 reps, three days a week.

.