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Mediterranean diet may prevent age-related blindness

Gorkha Post

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A Mediterranean diet might significantly reduce risks of a major cause of blindness or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a new study has suggested.

A Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating less meat and more fish, vegetables, fruits, legumes, unrefined grains, and olive oil. Mediterranean diet favors vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, olive oil and fish over meat.

Poor diet is emerging as an important factor in the development of a degenerative eye disease called age-related macular degeneration.

A large collaboration of researchers from the European Union investigating the connection between genes and lifestyle on the development of AMD has found that people who adhered to a Mediterranean diet cut their risk of late-stage AMD by 41 percent.

The findings were published online in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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Previous research has linked it to a longer lifespan and a reduced incidence of heart disease and cognitive decline. But only a few studies have evaluated its impact on AMD.

“You are what you eat,” said Dr Emily Chew, spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and an adviser to the research group that conducted the study.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from nearly 5,000 people, aged 55 and older, in the Netherlands. Those who closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 41 percent less likely to develop late-stage AMD than those who did not follow the diet.

The study found that, on their own, none of those individual components reduced the risk of late-stage AMD. Rather, it was the overall diet that significantly reduced the risk.

“Chronic diseases, such as AMD, dementia, obesity and diabetes, all have roots in poor dietary habits. It’s time to take quitting a poor diet as seriously as quitting smoking,” Chew said in an academy news release.

However, the study cannot prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

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Excess use of social media may lead to depression and loneliness

Raghu Kshitiz

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Excessive use of social media like Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram could lead to depression and loneliness as this habit is associated with poor well-being,researchers have warned.

A new study, being published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that limiting screen time on these apps could boost one’s wellness.

The study has tried to look into the causal side of things, and see whether people may actually feel better when they cut down on social media.

“Our findings strongly suggest that limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being,” the authors concluded.

“When you are not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you are actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life,” said Melissa Hunt, associate director of clinical training at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

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For the study, researchers from the varsity, included 143 undergraduate participants. The team designed their experiment to include the three platforms most popular with the participants.

They monitored the students for a week to get a baseline reading of their social media use, and gave them questionnaires that assessed their well-being according to seven different factors: social support, fear of missing out (aka FOMO), loneliness, autonomy and self-acceptance (a measure of psychological well-being), anxiety, depression, and self-esteem.

They collected objective usage data automatically tracked by iPhones for active apps, not those running in the background, and asked respondents to complete a survey to determine mood and well-being.

“Using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study,” Hunt told Science Daily.

The researchers chose to limit social media, rather than have subjects stop using it altogether, because it was a more realistic option, she noted.

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