Cognitive Decline Associated With AMD

Investigators have found significant associations between lessened brain functions and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 5604 people age 40+ who participated in the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey have been found to experience increased memory problems and confusion, seemingly as a result of their AMD. The report was published in the December 2019 issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

People with any level of AMD were found to have 1.62-fold higher odds of having self-reported cognitive difficulties compared to those without AMD. Likewise, patients with early and late AMD were associated with significantly higher reporting of memory problems.

The investigators concluded from these results that “more attention should be paid [to] the subjective memory function and potential risk of cognitive decline among patients with AMD”. Patients, meanwhile, should be aware of the importance of helping prevent memory loss through mental activity, physical conditioning, reducing stress, and maintaining brain fitness.

Until science comes up with ways to stop cells from aging, senior adults need to be extra diligent in keeping all of their faculties as sharp as possible. And for visually impaired people, memory is one of the most important. More on this topic may be heard in the 20-minute presentation, “Memory as a Substitute for Vision: The Aging Brain”, by Colleen O’Donnell, MSA, OTR, CLVT (Visual Rehabilitation and Research Center, Henry Ford Health System) .

Source abstract:  Association between age-related macular degeneration and subjective cognitive complaints. by Zhu Z, Lioa H, Scheetz J, Zhang J, He M. (Br J Ophthalmol. December 4, 2019.)