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D. Statins and Aspirin May Protect Against Severe Vision Loss in the Elderly

Narrator: This is Science Today. Aspirin and a group of cholesterol lowering drugs known as statins may help prevent age related macular degeneration, or AMD, a common disease in the elderly that can lead to blindness. Ophthalmologist Jacque Duncan of the University of California, San Francisco says the benefits of both medications may be due to their anti-inflammatory effects.

Duncan: They actually have a large number of anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-oxidant properties. As more is being found out about age related macular degeneration people are recognizing it also probably has a significant inflammatory component and one of the only treatments that has been shown to be effective has been supplementation with anti-oxidants.

Narrator: Duncan found that drugs with anti-inflammatory properties seem to be an effective therapy for a severe form of the disease called wet AMD, which is caused by abnormal blood vessel growth.

Duncan: We found that patients who had been treated with statins or aspirin had a lower rate of developing new blood vessels than those who had not been treated with either of those medications.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.