A New York Times article reveals an interesting study on exercising. This study suggest that exercising can help protect your eyes as you age. Take a look at the findings on how exercising may help age-related vision loss.
There have been suggestions that exercise might reduce the risk of macular degeneration, which occurs when neurons in the central part of the retina deteriorate. The disease robs millions of older Americans of clear vision. A 2009 study of more than 40,000 middle-aged distance runners, for instance, found that those covering the most miles had the least likelihood of developing the disease.
But the study did not compare runners to non-runners, limiting its usefulness. It also did not try to explain how exercise might affect the incidence of an eye disease.
So, more recently, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta and the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center in Decatur, Ga., took up that question for a study publishedlast month in The Journal of Neuroscience. Their interest was motivated in part by animal research at the V.A. medical center. That work had determined that exercise increases the levels of substances known as growth factors in the animals’ bloodstream and brains. These growth factors, especially one called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or B.D.N.F., are known to contribute to the health and well-being of neurons and consequently, it is thought, to improvements in brain health and cognition after regular exercise.
But the brain is not the only body part to contain neurons, as the researchers behind the new study knew. The retina does as well, and the researchers wondered whether exercise might raise levels of B.D.N.F. there, too, potentially affecting retinal health and vision.
The study then goes on to explain the process they conducted with lab mice. This study was then looked over by Dr. Jeffrey Boatright, an associate professor of ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine and a co-author of the study. He then goes on to explain the findings and what he thinks about the study.
“It’s beginning to look like we may have this other method” — exercise — “that costs almost nothing and results in you making your own growth factors, which is so much safer and more pleasant than having a needle stuck into your eyeball,” he said, getting no disagreement from me.
For more on this article and research findings click here.