Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Accumulated Lead Exposure May Be An Important Risk Factor For Cataracts

Date:
December 16, 2004
Source:
Journal Of The American Medical Association
Summary:
Accumulated exposure to lead may be an important but unrecognized risk for developing cataracts in men, according to a study in the December 8 issue of JAMA.

Accumulated exposure to lead may be an important but unrecognized risk for developing cataracts in men, according to a study in the December 8 issue of JAMA.

Lead continues to pose a significant public health problem in spite of substantial reductions in lead exposure in the United States in the recent past, according to background information in the article. Exposure has not been totally eliminated and most adults continue to have substantial levels of lead in their body. Previous evidence has indicated that low-level lead exposure may increase the risk for a number of chronic age-related diseases.

Debra A. Schaumberg, Sc.D., M.P.H., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and colleagues investigated whether bone lead levels measured in both the tibia and patella were associated with age-related cataract, the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment worldwide. Bone lead levels were measured between 1991 and 1999 in a subset of participants in the Normative Aging Study (NAS), a Boston-based longitudinal study of aging in men. Among the first 795 NAS participants to have bone lead levels measured, researchers reviewed eye examination data (collected routinely every 3 - 5 years) for the period after the bone lead measurements were taken. The study included men aged 60 years and older who had sufficient eye examination information available (n = 642). Blood lead levels were also measured.

The average age of the study participants was 69 years and cataract was identified in 122 men. The researchers found that men in the highest quintile of tibia lead level had a 2.7 times increased likelihood for cataract compared to men in the lowest quintile. Further adjustment for cigarette smoking, diabetes, blood lead levels, and intake of vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids indicated a 3.2 times increased likelihood of having cataract among men in the highest quintile of tibia lead. For patella lead level, there was a 1.9 times increased likelihood of cataract in the highest vs. lowest quintile, but the trend was not significant. Blood lead levels, more indicative of short-term exposure levels, were not significantly associated with cataract.

"… generalized low lead exposure along with pockets of higher exposure remain commonplace, including in the United States where more than 80 percent of homes built before 1980 are contaminated by lead-based paint and/or leaded water pipes. Results of the present study suggest that cumulative lead exposure is a risk factor for cataract, which accounts for more than 40 percent of all cases of blindness worldwide," the authors write. They add that expenditures for cataract surgery comprise the largest single line item in the Medicare budget.

"These are, to our knowledge, the first data suggesting that accumulated lead exposure, such as that commonly experienced by adults in the United States, may be an important, unrecognized risk factor for cataract. This research suggests that reduction of lead exposure could help decrease the global burden of cataract," the authors conclude.

###

(JAMA. 2004;292:2750-2754. Available post-embargo at JAMA.com)

Editor's Note: This work was supported by Fight for Sight and NIEHS. The Normative Aging Study is supported by the cooperative studies program/ERIC, Department of Veterans Affairs, and is a component of the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center (MAVERIC). Men were evaluated for bone lead with support from a NIH grant. The K x-ray fluorescence instrument was developed by ABIOMED, Inc., with support from a NIH grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal Of The American Medical Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Journal Of The American Medical Association. "Accumulated Lead Exposure May Be An Important Risk Factor For Cataracts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041208085449.htm>.
Journal Of The American Medical Association. (2004, December 16). Accumulated Lead Exposure May Be An Important Risk Factor For Cataracts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041208085449.htm
Journal Of The American Medical Association. "Accumulated Lead Exposure May Be An Important Risk Factor For Cataracts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041208085449.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins