In focus: A window into the brain

The retina already tells us a huge amount about our health, but it may be about to reveal even more. Sean Rai-Roche reports

Scientists in Ireland think they may have found a way to assess brain health and nutrition through studying macular pigment in the eye, with implications for both the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). They have suggested a specific combination of nutrients and fish oil to enhance function and potentially slow the development of both conditions. The study still needs to be validated on a greater scale, but it could represent an exciting step forward in our understanding of the relationship between eye health and cognitive function.

The study

The research was led by Professor John Nolan of the Waterford Institute of Technology, who has spent the past 18 years studying the relationship between nutrition and eye health, and was conducted at the Nutritional Research Centre Ireland (NRCI). It investigated whether a combination of the macular carotenoids lutein, meso-zeaxanthin, zeaxanthin, along with Omega-3 fatty acids, would improve quality of life for patients with AD.

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