Cataracts may Increase the Rİsk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Are cataracts related to Alzheimer‘s disease? In a prospective longitudinal study involving a cohort of more than 300,000 people, Chinese scholars found that cataracts can lead to structural changes and volume shrinkage in the visual cortex and the hippocampus, an important brain region associated with cognition. Their findings suggest that prompt surgical treatment of cataract patients will help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The clinical research team of Professor Yu Jintai, an expert from the Department of Neurology, Huashan Hospital, affiliated to Fudan University, and the team of Professor Tan Lan, an expert from the Department of Neurology, Qingdao Municipal Hospital, affiliated to Qingdao University, surveyed more than 300,000 participants aged 37 to 73. The average follow-up time was 8.4 years. The relationship between cataracts, their surgical treatment, and dementia risk, as well as possible mechanisms, has been intensively studied.

The researchers found that the risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was significantly lower in people who had cataract removal surgery than in people without cataract removal, and no higher risk than in healthy controls.

Professor Yu Jintai said that the research results also provide strong evidence for further research on the relationship between other eye diseases such as macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. The results were recently published in the latest issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry.

According to Yu Jintai, senile cataract is the most common reversible blinding eye disease, and surgical removal is still the preferred means of vision recovery. There has been no large-scale cohort study to fully reveal the relationship between cataract and its surgical treatment and dementia by subdividing the population into healthy controls, cataract-naive groups, and cataract-operated groups. To understand the mechanism behind cataracts, their surgical treatment and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the research team started with brain structure in further research to study the possible mechanism by which cataracts affect the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research team believes that visual deprivation may lead to reduced activation of central sensory pathways, leading to reduced cognitive load and an increased risk of structural brain damage. Yu Jintai said that the specific mechanism still needs to be further verified to clarify the potential association between cataract and its surgical treatment and Alzheimer’s disease.

The research results of Chinese scholars have established the relationship between cataract and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and proposed that timely surgical treatment of cataract patients will help prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. Yu Jintai advocates the public to actively prevent cataracts. People with cataracts should undergo surgery as soon as possible to prevent or slow down the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.

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