How To Digest All the AREDS Data

May 7, 2009

Have you noticed how many studies have been popping up about macular degeneration and your diet?  Recently, we have studies cautioning against red meat, favoring chicken, not sure about fish, eat nuts, watch your glycemic index, etc.  It is really hard to keep track of it all.  Why all of the studies about diet?

The AREDS study data was released to the public in November 2008.  The patient data of the over 4000 participants is now available for any qualified researcher to review, analyze and publish studies.  The data includes patient records, DNA and retinal photos.  During the enrollment process, the patients were questioned extensively about their dietary habits prior to entering the study.  The patients were then entered in the study and followed.  The AREDS study was designed to determine if oral supplements would effect the development of macular degeneration and cataract.

Over the past few months we have seen many “studies” announcing more findings about diet.  Researchers have reviewed the entry data regarding diets of the enrollees and then made associations based on the outcomes of the studies.  We will most likely be reading more and more about what is wrong with our diet.

How to keep track?  I don’t think we need to, yet.  In my opinion, these analyses should fuel future randomized, prospective studies to determine more accurate recommendations.  I would just read these and note the associations.  It underscores the importance of testing.

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist
www.TotalRetina.com

 

 



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