Breaking News
January 22, 2019 - Are your grandparents getting tipsy at the holiday party?
January 22, 2019 - New machine learning algorithms identify early symptoms of urinary tract infections
January 22, 2019 - A global influenza pandemic high on the WHO’s agenda
January 22, 2019 - Amgen Makes All Repatha (evolocumab) Device Options Available In The US At A 60 Percent Reduced List Price
January 22, 2019 - Elastronics—hydrogel-based microelectronics for localized low-voltage neuromodulation
January 22, 2019 - Branched-chain amino acids in tumors can be targeted to prevent and treat cancer
January 22, 2019 - Fueling macrophages with energy to attack and eat cancer cells
January 22, 2019 - Amgen And UCB Receive Positive Vote From FDA Advisory Committee In Favor Of Approval For Evenity (romosozumab)
January 22, 2019 - Does being bilingual make children more focused? Study says no
January 22, 2019 - Study reveals new genes and biological pathways linked to osteoarthritis
January 22, 2019 - FSU study provides better understanding of spinal cord injuries
January 22, 2019 - Delaying bath for newborn babies increases breastfeeding rates, finds study
January 21, 2019 - WHO identifies non-communicable diseases as major threat to human health
January 21, 2019 - Many parents still try non-evidence-based cold prevention methods for children
January 21, 2019 - High Levels of Activity, Motor Ability Linked to Better Cognition
January 21, 2019 - Killer blows? Knockout study of pair of mouse MicroRNA provides cancer insight
January 21, 2019 - Buffalo researchers receive grant to quicken development of generic equivalents of contraceptives
January 21, 2019 - One-third of pregnant women do not believe cannabis is harmful to their fetus
January 21, 2019 - Fiderstat could be used as chemopreventative drug for intestinal cancers caused by APC gene mutations
January 21, 2019 - Modifying healthcare delivery practices may improve discussions between youth and healthcare providers
January 21, 2019 - UNIST researcher named as recipient of Merck’s 2018 Life Science Awards
January 21, 2019 - How Getting a Flu Shot Could Save Your Life
January 21, 2019 - Surgical adhesions can be treated, prevented in mice
January 21, 2019 - Increased physician-targeted marketing associated with higher opioid overdose deaths
January 21, 2019 - Researchers uncover specific microbial signatures of intestinal disease
January 21, 2019 - Researchers discover new blood vessel system in bones
January 21, 2019 - Simple blood test reliably detects signs of Alzheimer’s damage before symptoms
January 21, 2019 - Study to investigate new targeted oral treatments for severe asthma
January 21, 2019 - Plan Your Plate | NIH News in Health
January 21, 2019 - Fecal occult blood test may improve CRC outcomes in some
January 21, 2019 - Blood test detects Alzheimer’s disease years before symptoms develop
January 21, 2019 - Mount Sinai joins with Paradigm and ReqMed to repurpose drug for treatment of MPS
January 21, 2019 - FDA Advisory Committee Votes on Zynquista (sotagliflozin) as Treatment for Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
January 21, 2019 - The causes and complications of snoring
January 21, 2019 - Placenta adapts and compensates when pregnant mothers have poor diets or low oxygen
January 21, 2019 - New implant could restore the transmission of electrical signals in injured central nervous system
January 21, 2019 - Rapid-acting fentanyl test strips found to be effective at reducing overdose risk
January 21, 2019 - Coronary Artery Calcium May Help Predict CVD in South Asians
January 21, 2019 - The mystery of the super-ager
January 21, 2019 - Scientists develop smart microrobots that can change shape depending on their surroundings
January 21, 2019 - Keep Moving to Keep Brain Sharp in Old Age
January 21, 2019 - Despite progress, gay fathers and their children still structurally stigmatized
January 21, 2019 - New drug for treating liver parasites in vivax malaria
January 21, 2019 - Merck recognized with 2018 Life Science Industry Award for best use of social media
January 21, 2019 - Coeur Wallis equips the canton of Valais with 260 SCHILLER defibrillators
January 21, 2019 - Scientists propose quick and pain-free method for diagnosing kidney cancer
January 21, 2019 - Signs of memory loss could point to hearing issues
January 21, 2019 - HeartFlow Analysis shows highest diagnostic performance for detecting coronary artery disease
January 21, 2019 - How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
January 21, 2019 - Take a timeout before you force your child to apologize
January 21, 2019 - Scientists design two AI algorithms to improve early detection of cognitive impairment
January 21, 2019 - Novel therapy for children with chronic hormone deficiency provides lifeline for parents
January 21, 2019 - Bioethicists call for oversight of poorly regulated, consumer-grade neurotechnology products
January 21, 2019 - Study shows hereditary hemochromatosis behind many cancers and joint diseases
January 21, 2019 - Short bouts of stairclimbing throughout the day can improve cardiovascular health
January 20, 2019 - Liver Transplant Survival May Improve With Race Matching
January 20, 2019 - Study implicates hyperactive immune system in aging brain disorders
January 20, 2019 - Cancer Diagnosis May Quadruple Suicide Risk
January 20, 2019 - Parkinson’s disease experts devise a roadmap
January 20, 2019 - Research brings new hope to treating degenerative brain diseases
January 20, 2019 - Scientists pinpoint a set of molecules that wire the body weight center of the brain
January 20, 2019 - Researchers get close to developing elusive blood test for Alzheimer’s disease
January 20, 2019 - UCLA researchers demonstrate new technique to develop cancer-fighting T cells
January 20, 2019 - Researchers discover how cancer cells avoid genetic meltdown
January 20, 2019 - Exercise makes even the ‘still overweight’ healthier: study
January 20, 2019 - University of Utah to establish first-of-its-kind dark sky studies minor in the US
January 20, 2019 - School-based nutritional programs reduce student obesity
January 20, 2019 - Improved maternity care practices in the southern U.S. reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding
January 20, 2019 - New enzyme biomarker test indicates diseases and bacterial contamination
January 20, 2019 - Republican and Democratic governors have different visions to transform health care, say researchers
January 20, 2019 - Researchers discover that spin flips happen in only half a picosecond in the course of a chemical reaction
January 20, 2019 - Suicide Risk Up More Than Fourfold for Cancer Patients
January 20, 2019 - Doctors find 122 nails in Ethiopian’s stomach
January 20, 2019 - UV disinfection technology eliminates up to 97.7% of pathogens in operating rooms
January 20, 2019 - Researchers discover mechanism which drives leukemia cell growth
January 20, 2019 - AHA: Infection as a Baby Led to Heart Valve Surgery for Teen
January 20, 2019 - Injection improves vision in a form of childhood blindness
January 20, 2019 - Multiple sclerosis therapies delay progression of disability
January 20, 2019 - New study finds infrequent helmet use among bike share riders
January 20, 2019 - Clearing up information about corneal dystrophies
Calcifications in the eye increase risk for progression to advanced AMD by more than six times

Calcifications in the eye increase risk for progression to advanced AMD by more than six times

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Close up of eye. Credit: Queen’s University Belfast

Calcified nodules in the retina are associated with progression to late stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Experts from Queen’s University Belfast, working in partnership with the University of Alabama of Birmingham and in collaboration with UK material scientists and US clinical ophthalmology practices, made the ground-breaking discovery that the calcified nodules in the retina – the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye – increase the risk for progression to advanced AMD more than six times.

The findings could revolutionise treatment options for people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of vision impairment in older individuals worldwide.

There is no current treatment for the majority of patients with AMD and irreversible visual loss has been associated with depression and other health problems.

Experts carried out the research as there is an urgent need to identify early events that might lead to visual loss so that these events can be targeted.

The research, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, used clinical imaging in patients from ophthalmologists K. Bailey Freund (New York) and Srinivas R. Sadda (Los Angeles), and molecular analysis of eye samples from the laboratory of Dr. Christine Curcio at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), by co-first author Matthew Pilgrim.

Calcified nodule in retina. Credit: Queen’s University Belfast

The team discovered that large calcified nodules in the retina were associated with progression of late stages of AMD, especially with the more insidious atrophic form of the disease, of which there are currently no treatment options. The experts believe that with further research and with early intervention, some patients could actually be treated with simple measures such as modifying their diet.

Dr. Imre Lengyel, Senior Lecturer and Researcher in the School of Medicine Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “Our research revealed that early changes in the back of the eye can lead to the build-up of hard mineral deposits, made of calcium and phosphate that may incorporate other types of trace metals, like magnesium. The build-up of these mineral deposits are an indicator of irreversible damage of the retina.”

Dr. Curcio, Professor in Ophthalmology at University of Alabama, said: “By fully understanding the causes behind the changing environment in which these large, damaging nodules grow we could design new ways to intervene with their growth earlier in the disease process than is currently possible.

Calcifications in eye close up. Credit: Queen’s University Belfast

“Identification of these risks associated with disease progression in the eye, especially in the retina, could become a diagnostic tool for monitoring the progression of retinal degeneration. This allows ophthalmologists to counsel their patients more wisely and also allow us to think about slowing or halting the progression of disease, earlier in its course.”

Co-first author Anna CS Tan MD said: “Treatment of AMD is expensive, yet so are caregiving or institutional living. Based on the global burden of AMD the cost is estimated to be over 300 billion worldwide.” Other co-first author Mathew G Pilgrim continues: “Therefore, delaying progression of AMD, or better yet, minimizing or eliminating risk factors, could lead to a substantial reduction in costs borne by health care payers, individuals, and society.’

Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, DuPont Guerry, III, Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Center for Advanced Vision Science at the University of Virginia, said: “This work will substantially advance the field and spur new thinking in AMD.”

The next steps for the research team will be to further their understanding of the disease processes associated with this degeneration. The team will aim to help determine new treatment options for patients, which could be as simple as modification of diet. The research will also allow ophthalmologists to advise their patients about prognosis more fully, based on the details found in their clinical imaging.


Explore further:
Researchers develop new model for earlier treatments for AMD

More information:
Anna C. S. Tan et al. Calcified nodules in retinal drusen are associated with disease progression in age-related macular degeneration, Science Translational Medicine (2018). DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aat4544

Journal reference:
Science Translational Medicine

Provided by:
Queen’s University Belfast

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles