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Red meat could make you blind

23rd March 2009

People who eat 10 or more portions of red meat per week are 50% more likely to suffer vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in people past 50 in the developed world, according to a recent study.


The findings also show that eating chicken protects vision and reduces one's risk by just over 50%.

The researchers defined "red meat" to include such things as roast beef, meatballs and lamb chops, and followed the eating habits of 5,600 middle-aged men and women for 13 years.

The researchers also took known risk factors such as age, family history, and smoking into account.

However, it is not currently known if the results of the study simply highlight lifestyle differences in red meat eaters that cause AMD, or if there is something in red meat that causes vision loss and something in chicken that protects it.

Elaine E-W. T. Chong of the Centre for Eye Research Australia at the University of Melbourne received grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia, and other institutes, in order to lead the study.

The macula is the part of the eye responsible for seeing what is directly in front of oneself, as when reading or writing, and people who have AMD often have one of two types of macular degeneration: dry or wet.

While the process by which the macula degenerates differs between different types and stages of AMD, it is ultimately scar tissue that destroys vision in all types of macular degeneration.

The researchers analysed data from a large study involving 41,528 residents of Melbourne, Australia, in which participants filled out extensive questionnaires about their eating habits, including 18 questions relating to red meat.

Some 10 years after this initial recruitment phase had ended, people who still lived in Melbourne were screened for various factors and given eye examinations.

People who had moved somewhere else were excluded from the second phase of the study, along with people whose diets were highly caloric or seemed to have changed since the initial phase of the study.

Of roughly 5,000 people who remained after the screening, 1,757 cases of AMD were found, 77 of which were in an advanced state.

Results confirmed a 47% increase in the chance of getting AMD in people who ate an average of 10 portions of red meat per week, as compared to people who ate it an average of 5 times a week.

Researchers say it is plausible that eating red meat could have a direct biological effect, but more research will be needed to establish whether or not this is true.


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Tuesday 24th March 2009 @ 14:48

Another study that doesn't understand that the whole diet should be taken into account, also all medication taken by the subjects. Demonising red meat doesn't help much. And how about all GM feed, hormones, antibiotics that are fed to the animals. Not forgetting all the chemicals that are added to processed food.

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Article Information

Title: Red meat could make you blind
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 10661
Date Added: 23rd Mar 2009


The Telegraph
NHS Choices

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