(NaturalNews) Macular degeneration is one of the many conditions associated with aging, and it remains the preeminent cause of vision loss among individuals aged 55 or older in the United States. While the main causes of age-related macular degeneration - such as unhealthy diets and limited exercising of the eye - are well-known, researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine have isolated another possible cause: the popular painkiller and anti-inflammatory aspirin.
The research team, led by Dr. Barbara Klein, analyzed statistics from the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a long-term project by American researchers who performed eye exams every five years over a 20-year period on almost 5,000 volunteers between the ages of 43 to 86. While Klein's team discovered no relationship between AMD and aspirin usage over a five-year period, they did discover that volunteers who regularly used aspirin over a 10-year period had a 1.4 percent risk of developing neovascular AMD, compared with only 0.6 percent for a non-aspirin user. Neovascular AMD is the most severe form of AMD and is characterized by blood vessel growth below the retina.
"AMD is a potentially blinding condition for which prevalence and incidence are increasing with the increased survival of the population, and regular use of aspirin is common and becoming more widespread in persons in the age range at highest risk for this disease," said Dr. Klein. "Our findings are consistent with a small but statistically significant association between regular aspirin use and incidence of neovascular AMD."
Klein's study is not the first to expose aspirin's connection to AMD
Klein's study, which was published in the December 2012 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Assosication (JAMA), is only the latest in a series of unconnected studies that links aspirin usage to neovascular AMD. In mid-2011, for instance, a research team led by Paulus de Jong at the Academic Medical Center at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience analyzed the health statistics of almost 4,700 European volunteers over the age of 65. He found that 36 of the 839 volunteers who took aspirin daily - approximately four percent of them - suffered from neovascular AMD to varying levels, compared to only two percent of non-aspirin users.
Like Dr. Klein, de Jong admitted that more studies on the subject needed to be done before his findings could be verified. Given aspirin's depressing track record, however, its connection to AMD is just another reason to avoid allopathic drugs whenever possible.
About the author: Michael Ravensthorpe is an independent writer whose research interests include nutrition, alternative medicine, and bushcraft. He is the creator of the website, Spiritfoods, through which he promotes the world's healthiest foods.
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