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Common Bug Linked to Macular Degeneration

20 years, 9 months ago

8696  0
Posted on May 16, 2003, 11 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Results of a recent study have linked age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to the bacterial infection Chlamydia pneumoniae. Dr Murat V Kalayoglu of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston and colleagues examined blood samples taken from 43 visitors to a hospital eye clinic, 25 of which suffered from AMD.

Results of a recent study have linked age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to the bacterial infection Chlamydia pneumoniae. Dr Murat V Kalayoglu of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston and colleagues examined blood samples taken from 43 visitors to a hospital eye clinic, 25 of which suffered from AMD. Results showed that those with AMD tended to carry higher levels of C. pneumoniae antibodies than those without the sight-robbing disease. The presence of such antibodies is a sign of past infection with the bacteria. C. pneumoniae normally infects the respiratory system, however some research suggests that it may promote certain chronic illnesses, such as heart disease by triggering inflammation in the blood vessels. Kalayoglu and colleagues suspect that C. pneumoniae may increase the risk of AMD by directly infecting eye tissues or increasing the production of substances that promote inflammation. Experts believe that one-third of US seniors aged 75 and over suffer from AMD.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Archives of Ophthalmology 2003;121:478-482.

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