C for cataract prevention
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens that affects vision, and by the time they reach the age of 80, more than half of Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery, according to the National Eye Institute.
Researchers in the U.K. recently investigated whether certain nutrients could prevent cataract progression, and their findings suggest that a diet rich in vitamin C could do the job.
At Kings College London, a research team gave 1,000 sets of twins a questionnaire about their consumption of vitamins A, B, C, D and E and copper, manganese and zinc. They measured the opacity of participants’ lenses around age 60 and followed up with another measurement on about 325 twin pairs a decade later.
At the time of the first measurement, diets rich in vitamin C were associated with a 20-percent risk reduction for cataracts. At the second measurement, those who reported eating more foods rich in vitamin C had a 33-percent reduced risk of cataract progression.
Researchers reported that genetics accounted for 35 percent of the difference in cataract progression; environmental factors, including diet, account for 65 percent.
“The most important finding was that vitamin C intake from food (not from vitamin supplements) seemed to protect against cataract progression,” study author Christopher Hammond, M.D., said. “While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C.”
Cataracts occur naturally with age, and while people can get them during middle age, most cataracts do not rob people of their vision until after age 60.
The study was published online in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Now HEAR this
Ten years ago, more than 325,000 hearing aids that were fewer than four years old were left unused, according to a study published in Hearing Journal.
In an attempt to turn the tables on that trend and increase hearing aid use among older adults who need them, Kari Lane, assistant professor at the University of Missouri’s Sinclair School of Nursing, developed the Hearing Aid Reintroduction [HEAR] program, a gradual method to facilitate adjustment to hearing aids.
Lane’s hearing aid adjustment strategy differs from those typically used by audiologists and other hearing aid providers.
In most cases, patients are either told to begin wearing their hearing aids all day starting on the day they receive them or to wear them as long as they can on the first day and gradually increase the wearing period as time progresses.
With the HEAR program, individuals are introduced to their hearing aids by wearing them for only an hour on the first day and slowly increasing wearing time to 10 hours a day on the 30th day.
Lane tested her system on 15 adults aged 70-85 who were not wearing their hearing aids because they were unhappy with them but were willing to give them another try. After undergoing Lane’s HEAR intervention, 87.5 percent of participants who were able to adjust to their hearing aids reported being satisfied.
“Those with hearing aids currently sitting in drawers should seek assistance in getting their hearing aids to work for them,” Lane said in a news release. “They should go back to their audiologist for a readjustment and keep going back until it works. Often, it may take six to 10 times to get a hearing aid adjusted perfectly.”
Nearly all older adults experience some degree of loss in of one of their five senses, and more than one in five experience loss in at least two senses, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Researchers at the University of Chicago looked at data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, which focused on the vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste of adults aged 57-85.
Study results revealed that:
• Almost all participants [94 percent]experienced loss in at least one sense, and 67 percent had two or more sensory losses. • Nearly three-fourths of participants had an impaired sense of taste, the most common sensory loss.
• Sense of touch was described as “fair” by 38 percent of participants and “poor” by 32 percent.
• More than one in five participants [22 percent] said they had problems with the sense of smell.
• Asked about their corrected distance vision, 14 percent said it was “fair” and 6 percent described it as “poor.” Asked about their corrected hearing, 13 percent rated it as “fair” and 5 percent rated it as “poor.”