Life stressors such as obesity reprogram immune system cells and cause damage to the eyes as we age, according to a study published in Science. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, affecting approximately 196 million people as of 2020. It comes in two forms: dry macular degeneration, which is characterized by a buildup of fat at the back of the eye and the death of nerve cells in the eye; and wet macular degeneration, which is characterized by lesions in the most sensitive part of the vision-producing tissue, the macula. blood vessels. In the latest study, the researchers found that being transiently obese, or having a history of obesity, leads to persistent changes in the DNA structure of immune cells, making them more prone to producing inflammatory molecules. Being overweight is a major non-genetic risk factor for AMD, second only to smoking.
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