Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does higher body weight protect women from one type of glaucoma?

Date:
August 4, 2010
Source:
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Summary:
Maintaining a healthy body weight is important for avoiding many diseases, but a new study finds that for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), one of the most common age-related eye diseases, the picture may be more complex.

Maintaining a healthy body weight is important for avoiding many diseases, but a new study from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) finds that for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), one of the most common age-related eye diseases, the picture may be more complex.

A large, prospective MEEI study, conducted over 20+ years, found that higher body weight (specifically, body mass index, BMI) is not associated with higher risk of POAG. In fact, the research shows that in women, higher BMI is significantly linked to reduced risk for a variant of POAG known as normal tension glaucoma (NTG). The researchers, led by Louis R. Pasquale, MD, say that clinicians and patients should be cautious about these findings until further research provides substantiation and clarifies the related biological mechanisms.

Glaucoma is a complex, potentially blinding illness that damages the optic nerve, and POAG is the most common type. Elevated eye pressure (intraocular pressure, IOP) is strongly linked to optic nerve damage. Effective treatments to control IOP are available to help glaucoma patients preserve their best possible vision. But in people with NTG, optic nerve damage occurs even though their IOPs are not elevated, as defined by accepted standards. Diagnosing and treating NTG presents special challenges for Eye M.D.s (ophthalmologists) and patients.

"Understanding the mechanisms that drive BMI and other body composition factors in relation to POAG might help us solve some mysteries connected with this complex illness," Dr. Pasquale said. "It's reasonable to speculate that hormonally-controlled factors released from adipose or lean tissues may alter the risk of NTG in women. Higher BMI in postmenopausal women is linked with higher estrogen levels, which might positively affect estrogen receptors in the optic nerve," he explained.

BMI (body mass index) refers to the body's adipose (fat) content in relation to lean body mass tissues (muscle, fluid, bone, and other non-fat tissues). When a person has a "higher BMI," that means the person's body includes more fat than the normal standard for his or her age.

The study participants were 78,777 women enrolled in the Nurses Health Study (1980 through 2004) and 41,352 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986 through 2004). In women, each unit increase in BMI was associated with a six percent reduction in risk for NTG (defined as IOP equal to or less than 21 mmHg at the time of diagnosis of POAG). Also, in women, having higher BMI during the young adult years was associated with reduced risk of NTG. In men, BMI was not associated with POAG. Because the ethnicity of most participants was European-Caucasian, the study's implications may be limited to similar patient populations.

Dr. Pasquale suggested that if the relationship of POAG to BMI and related body-composition factors can be clarified in future research, new treatments could be developed for patients with POAG, particularly those who have the normal tension variant of the disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Ophthalmology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Does higher body weight protect women from one type of glaucoma?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802150024.htm>.
American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2010, August 4). Does higher body weight protect women from one type of glaucoma?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802150024.htm
American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Does higher body weight protect women from one type of glaucoma?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802150024.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. 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