Prozac might be the first to treat an eye condition that causes blurred or restricted vision in more than half a billion people in the UK.

That’s the suggestion from data analysis which revealed that people who regularly take the antidepressant are 15 per cent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Animal research by the same team of scientists who analysed the data also found that the drug — which costs £2 a pill — slows down the rate at which AMD progresses.

According to researchers, the results could help make the drug more widely accessible and be the first treatment for dry AMD.

Most people in this condition are between their 50s to 60s. The cause is damage to the retina. This layer of light sensitive cells behind the eyes sends images to your brain.

Prozac may be the first treatment for an eye condition that affects more than half a million people in the UK, causing blurred or restricted vision

The first treatment for an eye condition that has affected more than half of a million Brits, including blurred vision or restricted vision, may be Prozac.

Both dry AMD and wet AMD exist. The dry AMD, which is about nine in ten cases, causes a gradual deterioration and death of cells in the central portion of the retina. This area, known as the macula (or the center of the retina), can occur over years as retina cells cease to exist.

The growth of abnormal blood vessels behind the eyes is what causes wet AMD. This happens faster because blood vessels leak fluids or blood into your macula. The body can block signals that cause the creation of new blood vessels through drugs.

These two forms of AMD make it difficult to recognize faces and read them.

Both types can affect some, or all of the central vision. However, peripheral vision is normal. AMD patients may be unable to see numbers and hands on clock faces.

Straight lines such as doorways or lampposts can appear bent, bent, or distorted. Although the exact causes of dry AMD are unknown, smoking, hypertension, obesity, and family history have been suggested.

While some or all central vision may be affected by both types, peripheral vision remains normal. When, for example, someone with AMD looks at a clock face, they may see the numbers but not the hands

Both types can affect some, but not all of central vision. However, peripheral vision is normal. For example, someone suffering from AMD may not see the hands but the numbers on a clock face.

According to research published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S., researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine found that there was a 15% reduction in AMD risk among people who were prescribed Prozac (brand name Fluoxetine).

Inflammasomes, which are immune system components that slow down sight loss were confirmed by animal follow-up research. This is thought to lead to inflammation and the loss of the retina’s top layer. The drug may be administered as an oral pill daily or inside a slow release implant.

Commenting on the research, Gwyn Williams, a consultant ophthalmologist at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, said: ‘This is certainly an interesting finding.

‘AMD is arguably one of the biggest health challenges facing us. Human trials would indicate if there’s any clinically relevant discovery here, and we must remember that antidepressants have side-effects, so any benefits would need to be significant enough to outweigh the risks.’

Reports in Neural Regeneration Research suggest that curcumin, which is a component found in turmeric, may be effective against dry AMD.

Madrid University researchers reviewed the evidence that a variety of natural and plant products have been used as AMD treatments, such as bilberry and blueberry, curcumin and turmeric.

Researchers stated that curcumin was the strongest supported by evidence, but more clinical trials are required.

A solar flare can be the reason for your cold 

Your risk of catching a cold might be greater on days when there are solar flares or other variations in the sun’s activity, suggests a Harvard University study.

When scientists compared 13 years of weather data with details of people’s white blood cell counts (a measure of immune activity) over the same period, they found that increased solar wind and fluctuations in the earth’s magnetic field were associated with a lower white cell count.

Writing in the journal Environmental Research, scientists linked this effect to the changes ‘solar and geomagnetic activity’ had on the body clock.

A study by California University suggests that patients could not become addicted to opioid painkillers if they were given a combination of traditional Chinese medicine and a Chinese plant. The journal Pharmaceuticals reports that the combination of the extract and morphine prevented addiction, while still relieving the pain.

Covid: Ice cube therapy for taste loss

As part of the four-pronged treatment to reduce taste and smell loss after Covid-19, we are testing sucking an ice cube.

Patients will receive insulin, zinc and gabapentin in an eight week trial conducted by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health.

A small amount of ice will be placed in the mouth, for approximately one minute. This is to stimulate taste buds.

Sucking an ice cube is being tested as part of a four-pronged approach to tackle loss of taste and smell after having Covid-19

As part of the four-pronged treatment to reduce taste and smell loss after Covid-19, an experiment is underway in which you can suck an ice cube.

Instead of using a needle, use water jet pen to collect your blood.

New Zealand engineers have created a needleless device using mini-jets of water.

The technology was originally devised as a way to deliver medication — the short, stubby pen-like device produces a thin but powerful stream of water that has been proven to administer anaesthetic in liquid form 20mm into the skin.

The scientists from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute now believe it works just as well as standard needles, according to Journal of Diabetes Science Science and Technology. With the water jet strong enough to penetrate the skin like a lancet, the spray of water can also be used to cut the skin.

Researchers hope that the device will also be able to inject insulin.

The recovery of the knee after surgery can be accelerated by using hi-tech gel

The gel forms upon exposure to UV light and speeds up the healing process of broken knee cartilage.

Cartilage acts as a shock-absorber in joints but can’t regenerate naturally. Although new cartilage cells may be implanted surgically in the affected area, they are prone to migration.

This gel was created to fix this issue. The gel can be inserted through keyhole surgery after it has been loaded with cartilage cells. To secure the cells, UV light is used to activate the hardening process.

Recent research from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China found that cartilage issues were healed within six months after treatment.

Revolting remedies 

There are medical treatments that will make your stomach turn. This week: Allowing blood to lower iron levels

In the medieval era, blood letting was used as a treatment for everything from epilepsy to gout — these days it is used to reduce iron levels in the blood, or to treat those with thicker blood owing to extra red blood cells. The process of donating blood is the same, but it used to be as cutting a vein.

‘The treatment is known as therapeutic venesection and it includes the removal of around 450 ml of blood from a vein — usually in the elbow,’ explains Dr Jonathan Cullis, a consultant haematologist at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

Most commonly, therapeutic venesection is used to treat the genetic haemochromatosis. This condition affects approximately 250,000 Britons and results in iron buildup. These can result in liver scarring, and even heart failure. First, blood letting should be done once a week for one year. Then it will need to be repeated four times per year.

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Infused with ginger and turmeric, the Bath Alchemist Apple Cider Vinegar Wellness Tonic No 2 contains an infusion of turmeric. The infusion preserves ‘the mother’, a sediment that contains gut-friendly bacteria — £12.95, 240ml, 

The secrets of an A-List body

How to achieve the star-like physiques. This week: Amanda Holden’s biceps

Amanda Holden showed off her toned biceps as she took a bracing dip in the sea at the weekend

Amanda Holden was proud to show off her toned arms as she went for a swim in the ocean at the weekend

Amanda Holden was proud to show off her toned arms as she went for a swim in the ocean at the weekend. 

This 50-year-old believes in yoga, running, home exercise, and long walks.

You should try the Zottman curl. 

With your arms at your sides, hold a dumbbell in one hand and a water bottle in the other. 

With your hands facing inwards, slowly lift the weights to the top of your shoulders. 

Keep your hands open so the palms are facing you. Then, slowly decrease the weights. 

Return your wrists to the starting position.

That’s one repetition. 

Three days per week, do four sets of twelve repetitions.