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Mediterranean diet may protect against advanced age-related macular degeneration

12 Sep 2018

High adherence to the Mediterranean diet cuts the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by about 41 percent, a study has found.

Researchers pooled data from two European population-based prospective cohort studies evaluating the associations between eye diseases and nutritional factors. The Rotterdam study I (RS-I) involved 4,446 adults aged ≥55 years from the Netherlands, whereas the Alienor study included 550 individuals aged 73 years from France. All participants had complete ophthalmologic and dietary data.

Assessments were performed approximately every 5 years over a 21-year period in RS-I and every 2 years over a 4-year period in Alienor. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was measured using a 9-component score (MeDi score) based on consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, fish, meat, dairy products, alcohol and the monounsaturated-to-saturated fatty acids ratio.

A total of 155 adults developed advanced incident AMD, 117 from RS-I and 38 from Alienor. The mean follow-up was 9.9 and 4.1 years in the respective cohorts.

Multivariate Cox proportional hazard models revealed that compared with low MeDi scores (0–3), high MeDi scores (6–9) were significantly associated with a reduced risk of advanced AMD (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.59; 95 percent CI, 0.37–0.95; p=0.04 for trend).

The present data indicate that a diet favouring healthy, nutrient-rich foods—such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and fish—may play an important role in the prevention of AMD, researchers said.

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