Research: CHRISTEN and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 198

Abstract

CHRISTEN and COLLEAGUES, Divisions of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. wchristen@rics.bwh.harvard.edu  studied whether intake of omega-3 fatty acids and fish affects incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in women.

Background

Methodology

A detailed food-frequency questionnaire was administered at baseline among 39,876 female health professionals (mean [SD] age: 54.6 [7.0] years). A total of 38,022 women completed the questionnaire and were free of a diagnosis of AMD. The main outcome measure was incident AMD responsible for a reduction in best-corrected visual acuity to 20/30 or worse based on self-report confirmed by medical record review.

Results

A total of 235 cases of AMD, most characterized by some combination of drusen and retinal pigment epithelial changes, were confirmed during an average of 10 years of follow-up. Women in the highest tertile of intake for docosahexaenoic acid, compared with those in the lowest, had a multivariate-adjusted relative risk of AMD of 0.62 (95% confidence interval, 0.44-0.87). For eicosapentaenoic acid, women in the highest tertile of intake had a relative risk of 0.66 (95% confidence interval, 0.48-0.92). Consistent with the findings for docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, women who consumed 1 or more servings of fish per week, compared with those who consumed less than 1 serving per month, had a relative risk of AMD of 0.58 (95% confidence interval, 0.38-0.87).

Conclusion

These prospective data from a large cohort of female health professionals without a diagnosis of AMD at baseline indicate that regular consumption of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid and fish was associated with a significantly decreased risk of incident AMD and may be of benefit in primary prevention of AMD.

References

Christen WG, Schaumberg DA, Glynn RJ and Buring JE. Dietary omega-3 fatty acid and fish intake and incident age-related macular degeneration in women. Archives of Ophthalmology. 129(7):921-9, Jul 2011. Other ID Source: NLM. NIHMS262126 [Available on 07/01/12] Source: NLM. PMC3134638 [Available on 07/01/12].

Comment

The above study with >38,000 women showed that regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and fish was correlated with a significantly decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The question posed is whether essential fatty acids may benefit in AMD prevention.

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