Sun, Sep 01, 2019 - Page 9 News List

High levels of exhaust pollutants may raise risk for degenerative eye disease
最新研究顯示 廢氣汙染可能引起退化性眼疾

People walk in a riverside park on a hazy day in Taipei on Nov. 8 last year.
民眾走在台北市區的一處河濱公園,天空一片霧濛濛,攝於去年十一月八日。

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者劉信德攝

Exposure to high levels of exhaust may raise the risk of the vision-robbing disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD) a new study suggests. In a study of nearly 40,000 people in Taiwan, researchers found that high levels of exhaust could nearly double the risk of the age-related eye condition, which damages the macula, the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision. People with AMD have trouble seeing straight ahead.

Only people with the highest exposure to exhaust had an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), meaning that “if we can reduce exposure and try not to be in the highest exposure group, the risk can be significantly reduced,” said study coauthor Dr. Suh-Hang Hank Juo, a distinguished professor at the China Medical University in Taiwan. “Therefore, do not go jogging on the road side when there are lots of cars and try not to go outside during the heavy traffic hours,” Juo said in an email.

To investigate whether vehicle pollution, which has previously been tied to increased risks for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, also impacts the risk for AMD, Juo and his colleagues turned to two large data sets: The Longitudinal Health Insurance Database (LHID) and the Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Database (TAQMD) in the National Health Insurance Research Database. From the insurance database, the researchers selected patients who were aged 50 or older when they were enrolled, who did not have signs of AMD at that point, and who lived in areas where there were air-quality monitoring stations.

As reported in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, the researchers divided the patients into four groups depending on the level of pollutant exposure. Of the 39,819 patients in the study, 1,442 developed AMD during 11 years of follow-up. After accounting for other factors that might influence the risk of AMD, such as age, gender, household income and underlying illnesses, the researchers determined that people living in areas with the highest levels of vehicle-generated pollution were 84 percent more likely to develop AMD compared to those exposed to the lowest levels.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. exposure n.

曝露 (pu4 lu4)

2. exhaust n.

廢氣 (fei4 qi4)

3. longitudinal adj.

縱向的、長期的

(zong4 xiang4 de5, chang2 qi2 de5)

4. ophthalmology n.

眼科(yan3 ke1)

5. multifactorial adj.

多重因素的

(duo1 chong2 yin1 su4 de5)

6. oxidative adj. 氧化的

(yang3 hua4 de5)


The new research is interesting but “it is a longitudinal observational study and can only show an association but not prove a cause-effect relationship,” said Dr. Fernando Arevalo, a professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and chairman of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, both in Baltimore, Maryland. “AMD is multifactorial and many genetic as well as environmental factors play a role in its development and that may confound the results. Further studies are needed.”

Dr. Joseph Martel, an assistant professsor of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh, suspects that, as with smoking, air pollution may lead to oxidative damage, which “in the eye is known to be associated with macular degeneration.” That’s why doctors often prescribe an antioxidant concoction of vitamins and minerals to help slow AMD, Martel said. It’s also suggested that people with AMD consume lots of green, leafy vegetables, like spinach, he added.

(Reuters)

新研究指出,曝露在大量廢氣中可能會提高罹患「老年性黃斑部退化」的風險,該疾病會使人喪失視力。在這份對將近四萬名台灣民眾進行調查的研究中,研究人員發現,大量廢氣恐怕會使這種老年性眼疾的罹患風險增加一倍。「老年性黃斑部退化」會損害黃斑部,也就是眼睛敏銳中心視野不可或缺的部分,罹患此疾的病人會難以看清前方物體。

台灣的中國醫藥大學特聘教授卓夙航醫師是這份研究的共同作者,他表示只有廢氣曝露程度最高的人們會增加老年性黃斑部退化的風險,也就是說:「如果我們可以減少曝露,並且盡量不要成為曝露程度最高的群體,風險就會顯著地降低。」卓醫師在電子郵件中指出:「也因此,不要在車輛很多的時候去路邊慢跑,也盡量不要在交通尖峰時段出門。」

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