A Biochemistry Lesson-Not!

Hey, there. After a gorgeous ‘Spring’ day, November is coming back in force and I am back in the house. It was an incredible day, though. I remembered to be grateful for it. Gratitude is a very healing skill. It is good to practice regularly.

Now that I am back in the house and not feeling like a) finishing a report for work or b) cleaning the house, I decided to look at some AMD stuff. I have a friend who finds newspaper articles with some, shall we say, non-mainstream stuff and makes me promise to read and consider it. The first article was once again about the Argus II, the bionic eye. This device is only for people with very severe vision loss as it has allowed people to again see outlines and shapes and have some functional vision. Not thinking that is for me! Not for a very long time at any rate.

The other article is about wet AMD and gut microbes. (Who makes these connections, anyway?) According to Catherine Paddock writing off an article in EMBO Molecular Medicine, they have been feeding those mice fat again. The fatty diet leads to a microbe imbalance in the gut which, after a couple of more steps, leads to chronic inflammation and the growth of blood vessels in your eyes. So there.

I don’t know enough biochemistry and medicine to follow the argument, but at least these researchers are being practical and not suggesting diet change as only one of the possible modifications (I am not giving up butter!) that may be helpful in slowing AMD progression.

They are talking about changing the microbes which would probably be a lot easier than changing me! How about you?

Although I remain committed to getting admitted to a stem cell study, I also decided to check and see what is happening in the world of pharmacology. According to Living Well With Low Vision’s February, 2016 research guide for dry AMD, MacuCLEAR is about the closest to coming to market. They were in phase 3 clinical trials but seemed to have a very small n for the study – n being the number of subjects involved. MacuCLEAR is eye drops and it is supposed to increase blood flow so those nasty blood vessels don’t need to develop and throw you into wet AMD.

That article has all sorts of studies listed. Check it out for more information.

Reading the descriptions of a lot of the drugs being tested I discovered many of them work on the ‘complement activation system’. That is complement with an e. Your body is not fishing for positive evaluations. ::grin::

So, if it’s not looking for someone to say nice things, what is it doing? According to Wikipedia the complement activation system requires an antibody and an antigen. Clear as mud so far. Read on, McDuff.

Apparently the complementary system is an old part of the immune system. It is involved with inflammation and according to Zipfel et al in The Role of Complement in AMD, AMD is actually a chronic inflammatory disease. Fancy that. Goofs in the programming of genes related to the complementary immune system lead to problems controlling inflammation and inflammation problems in the retina are related to AMD.

So that is that. When I get a biochemistry degree I can tell you more, but that is what I got now. Hope it helped. I probably should go do another load of laundry. <Sigh>

Next: growing younger

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