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A. E. Fletcher, I. S. Young, U. Chakravarthy, P. T. V. M. De Jong, M. Rahu, J. Seland, G. Soubrane, L. Tomazzoli, F. Topouzis, J. Vioque; Saturated Fatty Acids and Age Related Macular Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):1667.
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Previous studies based mainly on diet have found inconsistent results for saturated fatty acids with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We investigated the association of saturated fatty acids measured in blood with early and late AMD.
We carried out a nested case control analysis in the seven centre EUREYE study . Cases with late AMD (n=152, 106 with neovascular (NV) AMD, 46 with geographic atrophy (GA)) were matched with randomly selected controls (no signs of early or late AMD) by age, sex and centre. A similar method was used to select controls for early AMD (n=482, defined as large indistinct or reticular drusen or soft distinct drusen with pigmentary irregularities). Stored blood samples were analysed for total and individual saturated fatty acids by gas chromatography and expressed as percentage of all fatty acids. Logistic regression with robust standard errors was used to investigate the association of saturated fatty acids with early or late AMD taking account of potential confounders.
Saturated fatty acids constituted 45% of all fatty acids, made up of palmitic (68%), stearic (31%) and myristic ( <1%) with weak correlations between the three types. In analyses adjusted for age, sex, smoking, education, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, there were a significant association with the highest quartile of saturated fatty acids and late AMD, OR= 5.1, 95% confidence interval, CI, 2.4-10.9. These associations were found both for GA and NV AMD.The strongest associations observed were for stearic acid , OR= 4.0, 95% CI 1.8-9.1, compared to palmitic acid, OR=2.8, 1.2-6.2. There was no association with myristic acid, OR=1.2, 0.7-2.3. Similar results were observed for early AMD and in these analyses myristic acid was also significantly positively associated with early AMD.
We have described adverse associations of saturated fatty acids with AMD. These findings should be examined in other studies.
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