Antioxidants disrupt progression of blindness

by Jeff Gelski
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PROVO, UTAH — A diet rich in antioxidants from such food as artichokes, blueberries and pecans may disrupt a link that contributes to macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, according to a recent study. Age-related macular degeneration affects more than 1.75 million Americans.

Researchers from Brigham Young University in Provo and New York-based Weill Medical College of Cornell University found a destructive synergy in the retina between the build-up of a compound called A2E and mitochondria, which provide energy to cells. Antioxidants disrupted this link and extended the lifetime of irreplaceable photoreceptors and other retinal cells.

The experiments were performed on visual cells from rats, cows and humans.

"The implication is that people at risk of macular degeneration could help prevent the disease by consuming antioxidants," said Dr. Heidi Vollmer-Snarr, a B.Y.U. chemist.

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