Consuming Oranges Can Reduce Risk Of Macular Degeneration

A new study shows that people who often consume oranges are less likely to develop macular degeneration than people who do not eat oranges.

More than 2,000 Australian adults over the age of 50 were interviewed by researchers from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. They were also followed over a 15-year period.

Results showed that those who ate at least one serving of oranges daily had more than a 60% lowered risk of developing late macular degeneration after 15 years later.

“Even eating an orange once a week seems to offer significant benefits,” said lead researcher Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney

“The data shows that flavonoids found in oranges appear to help protect against the disease.”

According to Associate Professor Gopinath, most research has focused on the effects of common nutrients, such as vitamins C, E and A on the eyes.

“Our research is different because we focused on the relationship between flavonoids and macular degeneration.

“Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in almost all fruits and vegetables, and they have important anti-inflammatory benefits for the immune system.”

They examined common foods that contain flavonoids, such as tea, apples, red wine and oranges.
“Significantly, the data did not show a relationship between other food sources protecting the eyes against the disease,” she said.

Age is the number one known risk factor of macular degeneration.

The disease usually occurs in people over 50 years old and one in seven Australians over 50 show some signs of it.

Currently, there is no available cure for macular degeneration.

Data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, which is a population-based study that began in 1992,  were gathered by the researchers.

It is considered to be one of the world’s largest epidemiology studies that measure factors, such as diet and lifestyle, and how they affect health outcomes.

Associate Professor Gopinath concluded, “Our research aims to understand why eye diseases occur, as well as the genetic and environmental conditions that may threaten vision.”

High Blood Pressure Can Eventually Lead to Brain Disease

A study conducted by Rush University Medical Center researchers in Chicago suggests that older people with hypertension may have more signs of brain disease, particularly brain lesions.

Researchers recruited 1,288 older adults and followed them until their deaths at an average age of 89 years old.

It was discovered that the risk of brain lesions (abnormal brain tissue), which can be an indication of brain disease, was higher in people with increased average systolic blood pressure over the years.

Blood pressure less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) is considered healthy.

The larger number suggests systolic blood pressure, while the smaller number represents diastolic pressure.

For the participants in the study, 134 mmHg was their average systolic blood pressure, while  71 mmHg was the average diastolic blood pressure.

In a press release, researchers stated that two-thirds of the participants had a history of hypertension, while 87% of of them were taking medications for their condition.

Also, 48% of people had one or more brain infarcts, which are areas of dead tissue due to blockage in blood supply.

Researchers discovered that the higher the blood pressure, the higher the chance of developing of brain lesions.

According to Dr. Zoe Arvanitakis, study lead author and director of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s Memory Clinic, people with a decreasing systolic pressure also had a greater risk of one or more lesions.

This shows that declining blood pressure is also linked brain disease.

Individuals with 79 mmHg diastolic pressure had a 28% increased risk of brain lesions.

This indicates that a higher average diastolic blood pressure dramatically increased a person’s risk for brain infarct lesions as well.

Another aspect that researchers found was the association between average systolic blood pressure in the years before death and a higher number of tangles in the brain that are connected to Alzheimer’s disease.

Unfortunately, researchers did not have access to blood pressure of the participants in their mid-life. That blood pressure information was recorded only once a year.

The findings of the study were published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. It was funded by National Institutes of Health.

Revolutionary New Blood Test That May Immediately Detect Lung Cancer

A new revolutionary blood test that can help in the early detection of lung cancer among smokers has been engineered by a team of scientists from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in France.

The test can identify 63% of future lung cancer patients among current or former smokers.

It analyzes four specific protein biomarkers found in the blood that can indicate a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.

Scientists state that these biomarkers could be a huge help in discerning which smokers are most likely to benefit from lung cancer screening like low-dose radiation computed tomography (CT) scans.

Smokers have better chances in getting an early diagnosis if they are tested early for lung cancer.

Cancer Council Australia CEO Professor Sanchia Aranda stated that with an early diagnosis, patients can immediately start treatment.

She told AAP, “If you can screen the healthy individuals who would be eligible for surgery and get them into surgery earlier, then their chances of survival just increases automatically.”

Doctors can suggest patients to undergo low-dose CT scans to identify early tumours in their lungs.

Still, Professor Aranda said that the CT scans sometimes lead to unnecessary biopsies due to several types of nodules that aren’t necessarily harmful.  

She added that undergoing an initial blood test to examine a person’s chances of developing lung cancer would help boost the selection criteria for patients who require CT scans.

Professor Aranda is urging the Australian government to dedicate more funding for lung cancer research.

Lung cancer is Australia’s number one cancer killer.

According to Cancer Council Australia, it is responsible for almost almost one-in-five cancer deaths. In 2015, 8,466 Australians died from the disease.

Until now, Australia doesn’t have a national screening program for lung cancer.

The IARC recently published their findings in the JAMA Oncology journal.