Study Title:

Fish Oil Reduces AMD Risk

Study Abstract

Background: w–3 (n–3) Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) affect processes implicated in vascular and neural retinal pathogenesis and thus may influence the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Objective: We investigated whether w–3 LCPUFA intake was associated with a reduced likelihood of developing central geographic atrophy (CGA) and neovascular (NV) AMD.

Design: We undertook a nested cohort study within a multicenter phase 3 clinical trial, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), to study progression to advanced AMD in 1837 persons at moderate-to-high risk of this condition. The AREDS was designed to assess the clinical course, prognosis, risk factors, and nutrient-based treatments of AMD and ran from November 1992 to December 2005. We obtained baseline data on w–3 LCPUFA intake with a validated food-frequency questionnaire. Trained fundus graders ascertained AMD status from annual stereoscopic color photographs by using standardized methods at a single reading center across a 12-y period. We applied multivariable repeated-measures logistic regression with the incorporation of generalized estimating equation methods, because this permitted determination of progression to outcome at each visit.

Results: Participants who reported the highest w-3 LCPUFA intake (median: 0.11% of total energy intake) were 30% less likely than their peers to develop CGA and NV AMD. The respective odds ratios were 0.65 (95% CI: 0.45, 0.92; P 0.02) and 0.68 (95% CI: 0.49, 0.94; P 0.02).

Conclusions: The 12-y incidence of CGA and NV AMD in participants at moderate-to-high risk of these outcomes was lowest for those reporting the highest consumption of w–3 LCPUFAs. If these results are generalizable, they may guide the development of low-cost and easily implemented preventive interventions for progression to advanced AMD. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00594672

Study Information

John Paul SanGiovanni, Elvira Agrón, A Dhananjayan Meleth, George F Reed, Robert D Sperduto, Traci E Clemons, Emily Y Chew and for the AREDS Research Group.
w–3 Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake and 12-y incidence of neovascular age-related macular degeneration and central geographic atrophy: AREDS report 30, a prospective cohort study from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
2009 December
National Eye Institute, Bethesda, MD; the EMMES Corporation, Rockville, MD; and the Department of Ophthalmology, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

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