Forum - macular degeneration

This Week in the HSI Forum

“It is not hopeless.”

That’s how one HSI member responds to a question posed in the
HSI Forum about natural treatments for age-related macular
degeneration (AMD, or simply MD). In fact, macular degeneration
is one of the most popular topics on the Forum, with several
threads devoted to discussions on the best way to go about treating
this typical form of vision loss.

In one thread titled “Macular Degeneration,” a member named
Olga writes, “Have just been informed that I have MD. I have
looked up what is needed for the eyes and MD and have been
taking the necessary supplements of Lutein and Zaenthin plus 2
handfuls of many other vitamins.”

Olga is on the right track with her supplements. Lutein and
zeaxanthin are both antioxidant carotenoids that have been shown
to provide excellent vision support. In the e-Alert “Sight for Sore
Eyes” (8/4/04), I told you about two recent lutein studies that
concluded that lutein may not only help prevent AMD, but may
also help improve visual function for those with early and even
advanced AMD.

For most people, supplements will be needed to get the amounts of
lutein and zeaxanthin needed to address AMD. But as a member
who goes by “smcwith3” points out, a diet rich in whole foods
such as raw spinach will help considerably. A member named Joe
notes that Brussels sprouts are good for eyes. And Veronica writes
that, “Purple fruits are very good to help the eyes especially
blueberries.” Other foods that deliver lutein and zeaxanthin include
corn, kiwi, red seedless grapes, orange-colored peppers, celery,
scallions, broccoli, and squash.”

In a thread titled “Electric stimulation for Macular Degeneration?”
a member named Sandy wonders if anyone has any firsthand
information on the use of treating AMD with micro electrical
stimulation of the eye. Units that deliver this stimulation can be
purchased for home use. But the price tag is significant – anywhere
from $300 to well over $1,000. And then there’s the safety issue.

A member named Don – a retired engineer – writes: “Devices that
have lots of settings and capability may be great for an expert, but
they carry the potential for a lot of harm for the uninitiated. In my
experience most MDs do not understand much about the devices
that we engineers prepare for them. There are exceptions, but eye-
sight is something to be very careful with.”

And I couldn’t agree more. Members Tressa and Jo both offer
some research on the use of electrical stimulation for AMD, but so
far no one has come forward with the firsthand knowledge that
Sandy asked for. So if you or someone you know has used this
treatment for AMD, please let us know with an e-mail or by
posting a message on the Forum. We’d be interested to know the
results of this therapy, whether positive or negative.

Other topics on the HSI Forum this week include:
* Shower filter
* Improve hearing
* Congestive heart failure
* Hip pain
* Out of whack hormones
* Treats for troops

To reach the HSI Forum, just go to our web site at, click on “Forum,” and add your voice to
the wide range of topics concerning health care and nutrition.

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Well, the sun is shining pretty brightly in Baltimore right now —
literally and figuratively. After an embarrassing defeat against
Cleveland in the season opener, the Ravens pulled off one of their
most decisive victories I can ever remember (Super Bowl XXXV
aside) in their home opener against Pittsburgh.

And it wasn’t just that the defense did its job. For this one day, for
the first time ever, it was like everything just clicked. It started
right away when they won the coin toss, which Baltimore almost
never does.

From there, they accomplished another rarity when they scored on
their opening drive. And it was an actual touchdown — for six
whole points! Then, the strangeness continued when they
challenged an incomplete pass and got the call on the field
overturned. They ended up with a 30-13 victory over their biggest
rivals with NO turnovers – not one fumble or interception. It was
as perfect as a day of Ravens football gets (well, except for the 123
yards in penalties).

Next week, the boys in purple face the Bengals in Cincinnati,
where their former defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis is now the
head coach. The Bengals are coming off a particularly ugly and
lucky win against the jigsaw-puzzle-like Miami Dolphins in a
game that had ridiculously little offense and a lot of turnovers. (Of
course, as a Ravens fan, I know that a win is a win is a win and it
doesn’t count any less if it’s ugly. In fact, I have that embroidered
on a pillow.) But if the Ravens and the Bengals both play like they
did this week, the Ravens will advance to 2-1 and the Bengals will
be facing an uphill battle with a very tough schedule this season.
Again, that’s if the same two teams show up that showed up this
week. Unfortunately for Ravens fans like me, that’s a pretty big

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