• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Health Note/Blind and Fat

Air Date: Week of

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file

Living on Earth’s Diane Toomey reports on a new study that indicates a way to slow the progression of the leading cause of blindness in elderly Americans.


CURWOOD: Just ahead: a monster at your local pond. But first, this environmental health note from Diane Toomey.


TOOMEY: Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among Americans over 60. The condition is caused when the macular, or central portion of the retina, either becomes clouded with fatty deposits or fluid from leaky blood vessels. Patients who have the condition can end up with crippling loss of their straight-ahead vision. Though the cause of macular degeneration is unclear, risk factors include smoking and advancing age. There's no cure for the condition, but now, the results of a new study may indicate a way to slow its progression. Harvard researchers followed 261 people with mild macular degeneration. They found that, over the course of about four and a half years, overweight patients were more than twice as likely to have their vision deteriorate compared to those not overweight. The researchers also found that physical activity seemed to slow the progression of the disease. People who vigorously exercised at least 3 times a week had a 25 percent slower rate of disease progression compared to those who didn't exercise at all. Researchers don't know how weight and exercise influence macular degeneration, but they suspect they may effect the blood vessels that remove waste products from the retina. That’s this week’s health update. I’m Diane Toomey.

CURWOOD: And you’re listening to Living on Earth.

[MUSIC: The Doves "Firesuite" Lost Souls]



Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth