GLAUCOMA AND BRAIN
The coronavirus has now become the center of universal attention, but at the same time glaucoma continues impair the vision of many. A Singapore-American team of scientists have recently found evidence of a link between eye and brain degeneration.
Namely, the variability of the amyloid beta gene correlates with the risk of primary open-angle glaucoma, the main cause of blindness. A relationship has been found in African populations that are at high risk for glaucoma.
The idea that glaucoma is not just an eye disease is fairly obvious. Eye degeneration is associated with brain degeneration since this amyloid beta (found in both places) is one of the causes of nerve cell death in Alzheimer’s disease, as well as dementia.
Recently another study confirmed the highest prevalence of open-angle glaucoma in people of African descent (16.1%), compared with East Asians (9.9%) and Europeans (7.4%).
On the one hand, it is clear that glaucoma in Africa is still glaucoma. On the other hand, we are all from Africa. Humanity started out in Africa, but over the past 200,000 years the fate of various populations has developed in different ways.
The modern African population is poorly represented in genome studies. And in this sense, Africans are a genomic treasure trove.
GLAUCOMA, THE BRAIN … AND WHAT’S NEXT?
Well, you say, we learned about the connection of destructive processes in the eye and the brain – what follows from this? It is expected that new data will expand the context, and science will begin to look for new (smarter, if you like) approaches to glaucoma, which today is incurable, although treatable.
Dr. Michael A Hauser, professor of medicine and ophthalmology at Duke University Medical Center (in which, by the way, Dr. A. Benjamin also studied), said:
“Africans are severely affected by glaucoma, it affects them early and often leads to blindness. According to our data, glaucoma in Africa has a different genetic structure than in Europe or Asia. We hope that our work will help preserve vision for people of African descent around the world.”
It is worth remembering that if you have glaucoma in the family (especially early and severe), then regardless of your roots, your chance of getting it is genetically higher.
One of the scientists hypothesized that the processes of degeneration in the eye and in the brain can be connected “mechanically”. The meaning behind this thought remains a mystery. Let’s hope that this riddle can be solved in the near future.
To date BEI has successfully stopped the development of glaucoma in many patients, which confirms my personal experience.
Photo by Sabri Tuzcu / Unsplash