Macular Degeneration Association Issues Urgent Supplement Warning for Patients
Genetic Swab Test Can Help Doctors Determine if AREDS Supplements Helpful or Harmful- this Press Release was done in May 2016.”

Genes May Shape Supplements’ Effect on Macular Degeneration

by: Laird Harrison
SAN FRANCISCO — A person’s genotypes may influence whether or not nutritional supplements help or hinder the progress of age-related macular degeneration, according to the results of two new studies.
The studies lend support to the controversial proposal that clinicians should administer genetic tests to see who could benefit — or potentially be harmed — by the nutritional supplement formula devised for the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS).
“Why would you tell people to take a nutritional supplement for decades at their own cost when it does them no benefit at all?” Carl Awh, MD, from Tennessee Retina in Nashville, said toMedscape Medical News.
The results of the studies were presented here at the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) 2016 Annual Meeting.
For both studies, researchers reanalyzed data from the AREDS trial, which was funded by the National Eye Institute.
The initial trial showed that nutritional supplements slowed disease progression in patients with moderate age-related macular degeneration.
However, in subsequent analyses of the data, Dr Awh and colleagues found that how patients responded to the supplement depended on their complement factor H (CFH) and age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2 (ARMS2) risk alleles, with some patients’ condition worsening.
In the new study presented at the ASRS, the researchers looked at 554 patients from the original AREDS trial who had no macular degeneration. These patients took antioxidants in the original AREDS formulation without zinc.
This time Dr Awh and his colleagues did not distinguish between CFH and ARMS2 but simply counted the total risk alleles. They found that patients were more likely to progress to intermediate macular degeneration in 7.5 years if they had fewer risk alleles.
Table 1. Risk for Macular Degeneration Based on Number of Alleles

Number of Alleles Hazard Ratio Antioxidant Treatment vs Placebo P Value
0 3.98 .005
1 2.54 .01
2 0.67 .15
3 or 4 0.27 .008

“The treatment implications are that individuals without macular degeneration and high genetic risk may benefit from the antioxidant formulation,” said Dr Awh.

 Often the children of people with macular degeneration ask if they can do anything to avoid getting the disease. They might be good candidates for a genetic test, he added.

In an independent study, Johanna Seddon, MD, from Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues conducted a similar analysis of the AREDS data. They divided patients according to different groupings of CFH and ARMS2 risk alleles……..
Read more:
Source: Medscape