Age Related Macular Degeneration

Updated 28th August 2013 Still battling on. Suffered a couple of setbacks as the doctos gave me some rablets for High Blood Pressure and they may have been too successful as my eyes suffered. Nine months on my eyes may be recovering. Still I thought you might like this link to hear what an eyecare professional comment on the Macular society.

I also need to tell you taht I’m now taking 80mg Lutein each day and whether it’s actually working or whether it’s told my brain that this is a serious problem and needs to be dealt with i don’t know but it’s not as bad as when I initially had the HBP pills damage.

By the way my left eye developed Wet AMD.

Updated 02022011 Lutein. I read somewhere about positive effects of Lutein. The test cases used 20-39mg per day and got positive results. I’m fairly well built and I need to get a result so I’m taking 40mg per day. I need to clear my eyes fo the gunk if I can. It seems to be working as I’m back to reading the paper, in the right light of course and it’s easier to use the computer and the Kindle. I’m scheduled for another eye test in early July. I’ll report how we get on.

Posted 11012011 Age-related Macular Degeneration.

I found I was suffering from dry AMD about four months ago. I also have a slight void in the macular muscle which is distorting my vision.

My optician, well his lady assistant actually, picked it up and arranged a fast appointment with my optician / ophthalmologist, because he has an OCT (Optical coherence tomography) machine. Yes, there was the build-up of dry AMD. He arranged an appointment with the local eye hospital but the specialists there couldn’t see any build-up and sent me forth saying there was nothing there “I can’t see anything wrong.”

I assume that’s why they also have an OCT machine, because it can ‘see’ better than the human eye. However their machine is fairly old and can only take a photograph of three slices across the eye whereas my optician’s is the latest and takes 127 photographs – forty times more detailed.

Suffice to say I got a new appointment at a different eye hospital, with the same result even though their machine was slightly newer, but it only takes a photograph of seven slices across the eye, so my optician’s is still nearly twenty times more detailed.

I’ve told my optician that ‘in the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king’ and he’s the king, also that he has already seen more in his patients eyes than the ‘experts’ have done.

As far as treatment is concerned there’ is no treatment yet for Dry AMD, though possibly lutein may help. I’m taking 30mg per day in the hope that it’ll do some good. Also I’m hoping stem cell treatment may be possible at some stage.

Meantime I’ve turned down the brightness of my computer screen; bought a Kindle; rebalanced how much time I allocate to the various tasks I ask my eyes to do and I’ve bought a Blu-ray player.

But it’s not looking good.

No driving at night; no clear view of a person’s face; no recognising people across a room (except by listening); no newspapers;  no lip-reading;

As I said, it’s not looking good.

Cliff

MUSIC and my CDP220

Music

I’ve started with the Casio Digital Piano, I ve had some brilliant intuition and tuition from my music teacher which is leading me to really get back into playing the piano. She’s given me back the flow and the beauty of the ‘keys’ of B Flat. D major etc, now it’s upto me to get the fingers working.

Separately I need to be able to read the music and am working with the RNIB to achieve that. They will transcribe the music onto a larger font etc so that I can read it – just. So I’m also looking at musescore.org software to get it on my computer screen. At the moment the transcription is done using ‘Sibelius’ software and that software does not produce ‘musicXml’ format files which I need. We progress.

I’ve just joined Amazon Clod Player and naturally their software and the service offer is superior to anyone else’s. I am in the process of therefore getting all my tracks into MP3 format and can then upload them to my Nexus.

‘Spotify’ who’s service I’ve raved about for two years is now under query, firstly because their screen design is appalling and does not subscribe to the w3C conventions, secondly they no longer sell albums. Amazon do.

I think I’m now upto probably twelve hundred MP3 tracks and I can listen to them without being online.

Next stage is to use Musescore on-screen music to actually play from.

Then the next stage will be to create my own arrangements, down-loading them to Musescore for creating sheet music.!! We’ll have to see whether I can do anything really good. All I know Is that this keyboards, this compter and this software will keep intellectually challenged for years, I may even have to also learn the Theory of Music. ERGH!

One week on the CDP 220 Digital Piano

I am horrified and delighted that all the technical questions have been sorted mainly Thanks to Pete, my son.

First need was to be able to read sheet music even with my restricted vision. DONE. He fixed my scanner aand software to create multi-page Pdfs which I can read on my large screen. So now to do some scanning…..

He then down-loaded some sheet musib and we printed it and proved the Pdf could be read.

Next he fixed my Ubuntu to the latest version and down-loaded Audacity, which means that I can create mmusic and print it.

This is what I had in my mind back in 1970 when I priced a PC based music studio at £30,000 (the cost at taht time for a four-bedroomed houses in an excluasive area of Birmingham, was just over £10,000.)

I now have an incredible facility. I hope I will live up to it.

To help me on my way I have recruited a music teacher and she starts on Wednesday, what an adventure we’re going on.

First Day – CDP 220 digital piano arrived

I’ve chosen an alectronic piano plus the electronic instruments. Seven and a bit cotaves, so it’s not a full grand but the right size for our lounge.

It sounds wonderful so how well does it stack up – top end of the piano don’t sound, though they do as an organ; key appendices are printed inblue and almsot impossible to read; the aheet music provided for the lessons are too faint to read; the operating manual is similarly too small to read. The test sheet music I purcahsed is also to difficult to read.

So at that stage I need to hope that my memory is fully functional – …. after over fifty years!

These problems explain my motivation as I suffer from both wet abd dry AMD and am partially sighted. I want to develop a repertoire of nusic now whilst I still have some vision – a repertoire I can enjoy for may years to come. You never know someone may actually like what I eventually achieve.

Today’s good news is that I thtink I can scan key parts of the manual -and then go on to create pdfs of the sheet music I acquire.

Sitting here nw I envuisage four suites of music, amely gentle piano; jazz piano; Christmas’ and Party Mood.

For the moment important finger movements have started returning.

Let’s see.

DRY AMD – Winning The battle with AMD?

DRY AMD – Winning The BATTLE with AMD?

I was furious that I had ‘lost’ my sight, with early 0n-set AMD.
DRY AMD – a catastrophe as AMD means I felt unsafe to drive, and unable to read and to write; …. and to cross the road, read destination boards, and worst of all to be unable to recognise faces

HoweverI have immense confidence in the power of the brain and I determined to get the brain to set up new synapses between the eye and the vision part of the brain. It’s just like a muscle, it needs training, eexefrcise and rest.

So I:
– concentrated on my best eye to shift the grey blockage out iof the way, using a wardrobe door handle to look at and to practice on, every morning for ten minutes. Later I got my left eye to come together with it.

– started taking Lutein, lots of it as in the optical profession they all use it… and the American studies seem to augur well and with no side-effects

– also added VitaminB12 supplement as this might act as a catalyst for Lutein and my count for B12 was very low (181)

– bought a Nexus 7 to go with my Acer PC, because it has brilliant PPI (pixels per inch) 213 0f them. (Now 300 in the Nexus 10 and 320 in the Nexus 4.) I worked with this and it now means I can read the news from Google, DT and all (Plus lots of other things eg email, documents,books, music,)

– use lots of ‘shut-eye’ to rest my eyes, land lots of green from walks in the park and in he country to ease them

– continuously congratulated the brain for any and every improvement no matter how small

DRY AMD – Winning The BATTLE with AMD? NO, but now I can read, write, watch TV, and read a destination board.

Is it fully corrected? No, I’m still fighting the battle and I’m looking forward to stem cell replacement in five or ten years time.

Cliff

PS. I also have Wet AMD in my left eye and the Lucentis (treatment but not cure)works for me though the stab of a metal shard into the eyeball is painful!!

For the Doctors

For the Doctors

I use my eyes to see the far horizon
I use my eyes to see the beautiful South Downs
I use my eyes to see a buzzard climbing a thermal
I use my eyes to see a kestrel diving on its prey
I use my eyes to see the sunlight on the waves,
I use my eyes to see a swan mothering its cygnets.

I use my eyes to follow a butterfly
and then to get a picture of it.
I use my eyes to marvel at the moon
and the lightening lightning,
I use my eyes to marvel at the blue sky,
the green grass, the yellow daffodils,
the pretty pinks, and the red roses,
I use my eyes to create new art from sunsets,
holiday huts, the blossom on a branch,
palm trees, even fresh fruit.

I use my eyes to write books,happy and
hopeful books
I use my eyes to write poetry and prose
I use my eyes to create story cards
for learning english
I use my eyes to create
a website for learning english
I use my eyes for on-line forums
and discussion groups,
I use my eyes to see people and
to focus on their eyes and their faces.

I use my eyes to spot weeds and to sow seeds
I use my eyes to enjoy sumptuous squashes,
the merry marigolds, crisp cucumbers,
bolshey brassicas, the Barlotti beans,
the cornucopia of courgettes, and
the pile of peppers, the pretty petunias,
the lines of leeks and the lovely lavender,

I use my eyes to harvest the bags of beans,
the bunches of onions, the gaggles of garlics,
the purple plums, the tons of tomatoes,
the armfuls of artichokes, the pots of potatoes,
the piles of pumpkins,
the baskets of strawberries.
the heaps of swedes and parsnips.
And now to read the menu

I use my eyes to cook and to wash up
I use my eyes before we cross the road
I use my eyes to see the road ahead
I use my eyes to see the path over the Downs
I use my eyes to see the boardwalk to the pier.
I use my eyes to enjoy dancing and the theatre

I hope to use my eyes for grandchildren,
I hope to use my eyes for my wife as we age.

My eyes I take seriously and personally,

Yours truly,
Cliff Jenkins,
3rd September 2010 (V 111110.)

AMD – getting better (?)

getting better (?)

I was appalled when I learned I had Dry AMD, but then at my age I had been using my computer a lot and the screen was bright.
Three actions:
– reduce brightness of screen
– reduce hours of computer use
– take 40mg of Luiein a day (2 X 20mg FSC, not ICAPS) The original tests were based on 20-30mg per day, but I’m a big lad so I reckoned 40mg would be handy.Results in six weeks: now reading the newspaper again; watching TV better; seeing oncoming traffic more easily; focusing on faces better; no longer adjusting font sizes on computer.

Cured, no, it’s ‘age-related’ so it’ll come back. Getting better probably. Due for another test in July when we can measure any improvement by comparing OCT images.

HISTORY: My optician decided I had a problem and referred me to the senior partner (an Ophthalmologist) for an OCT examine 31st July 2010; identified Dry AMD using latest OCT machine with 127 images per eye, producing classic pictures of the damage; four weeks later Eye Hospital found no AMD but they were using an old OCT machine with three images per eye; eight weeks later second opinion at different eye hospital, they found NO Dry AMD but again using an old OCT machine with seven images per eye. Followed up with research on Internet found about Lutein and started about six weeks ago.
QED

cliffjenkins

Re: getting better (?) EXTRA

Postby cliffjenkins » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:23 am

Since writing the previous post, I realise that I failed to adequately describe my white hot fury at the pompous ‘eye specialists’ who told me there was nothing wrong.
I then went on to write a piece of prose about the loss of my sight, that I was going to send to the press but I decided that it wouldn’t have any effect. I have since published it as part of ‘An Englishman’s Life’ available at the Kindle Store for 91p.In writing this piece of prose it is possible that I told my brain just how important my eyesight was, it suddenly realised that this was serious and itself kicked into gear to help out. Certainly the distortion I was also getting from right eye is getting less and I really don’t think that’s anything to do with Lutein.

I am very serious in my opinion about the power of our brains, I think we may be under-estimating its strength possibly by as much as a thousand fold.
http://tinyurl.com/Tomorrows-Tides

Cheers
Cliff
http://yoolaa.co.uk

PS I also forgot to mention that I got a Kindle so that I could read books and magazines more easily. Brilliant.

Boost your brain – use your brawn, Daily Telegraph 040407

Boost your brain – use your brawn, Daily Telegraph 040407
by Cliff on Wed 04 Apr 2007 10:15 AM BST  |

Boost your brain… use your brawn

[singlepic id=14 w=320 h=240 float=]

‘If you’re sporty, you must be thick’ is a misguided cliché. In fact, a new study says exercise actually increases memory and learning potential. Victoria Lambert reports

Were you one of those forever leaping about on the tennis court at school or were you more likely to be found huddled around the Bunsen burner? Sporty or swotty, the two tribes have, by tradition, rarely crossed – save for the odd all rounder, who managed to be captain of games while studying advanced maths. Now, new research from America is confounding the old stereotypes, with the finding that exercise actually makes your brain bigger and more capable of learning.

‘We have to keep people active through mid-life – maybe these new findings will provide the right carrot for them,’ says Prof Bruce Lynn from University College London.

The study, carried out at the Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, has shown that working out the muscles could simultaneously be pumping up the brain – and specifically the memory.

Exercise appears to directly affect a region of the hippocampus, the area of the brain concerned with memory and learning, called the dentate gyrus, one of the few areas of the brain where neurogenesis – the creation of nerve cells – takes place. Building up the number of nerve cells (neurons) and the connections between them in the dentate gyrus is vital to the prevention of memory decline that typically begins at around the age of 30. So does this mean that aerobic exercise can help anyone increase their learning potential?

Cell production is a complex affair relying on a ready supply of proteins and hormones, particularly a hormone called Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is known to be crucial in child growth and the development of every cell in the body. It is released into the bloodstream every time you contract and relax a muscle and so levels rise when you exercise.
When IGF-1 reaches the brain, it acts on the cells that release neurotransmitters, the chemicals responsible for communication.

It triggers an increase in production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, which promotes the growth of new nerve cells and which Harvard psychiatrist, John Ratey, has nicknamed “Miracle-Gro for the brain”.
As new brain cells are created, they form pathways and links, as we learn new facts and skills. The greater level of BDNF you have, the more new nerve cells you can produce and the greater the number of building blocks available to you to extend your learning capacity. But if levels fall, it can work in reverse. Those born with a faulty variant of the gene responsible for the production of BDNF have trouble with recall and creating new memories.

Using an MRI scanner, the Columbia researchers led by Professor Scott Small examined a living brain before and after exercise and, for the first time, were able to see neurogenesis effectively in action.
Those most likely to benefit from the finding are victims of degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, and the next step will be to use this information to create an exercise regime specifically tailored to preventing age-related memory loss.

Professor Bruce Lynn, from University College London, welcomes the new findings. He recalls similar findings being presented in the 1960s – and then ignored by the scientific community. Even five years ago, he says, there were only half a dozen papers on the topic; yet now it has become a very active area for research, as it has become abundantly clear that those who remain physically active stay cognitively fit, too.
“The big question however,” says Prof Lynn, “is what is the link? It is not obvious why exercise has this effect on the brain. Growth factors are important but blood flow to the brain is not relevant. Some people suggest increased oxygen is crucial but our blood is always saturated with oxygen unless we’re in the Himalayas – or, ironically, exercising.
“What type of exercise you choose seems to matter: aerobics works, but you don’t get the same results from strength training. However, when you are strength training – using weights – you see big increases in the production of IGF-1.”

At the University of Birmingham, Professor Asker Jeukendrup, a specialist in exercise metabolism, confirms there is a lot of evidence that physical activity helps brain development. He thinks there is some truth to the theory that suggests improving blood supply and therefore fuel to the brain is important.

“You don’t need to do much to get an effect,” he says. “Studies have already shown that just 20 minutes walking – not even particularly briskly – will reduce degeneration of the brain and improve learning ability. Yet many people are still below that threshold. And, of course, other studies show that the more you do, the better it gets.”

He believes it is important this message gets across to the older generation. “If you can keep the elderly active, their quality of life improves so much.”

Prof Lynn agrees that promoting exercise for the over-sixties is important. “It just has so many benefits, particularly for the mind. A lot of effort is put into preventing falls – but they are not just due to weakening muscles but also problems with balance, which occur in the brain.”

What he finds particularly encouraging about the latest study is that it confirms it is never too late to revitalise your mind.
“This is a great thing to promote. After all, we all want a beautiful body, but staying in sound mind as we age is even better. Improving mental health is very important to the quality of life in an ageing population.”
While he is also confident that the message about exercise is getting through to children via schools programmes, and increasingly to the elderly, he worries about the 20-60 age group.

“We have to keep people active through mid-life – maybe these new findings will provide the right carrot for them.”

Another study due to be published later this year by Charles Hillman, a hockey-playing neuroscientist at the University of Illinois, and previewed in the current edition of Newsweek magazine, will show that in a group of 259 students, allowing for socio-economic factors, those who had the fittest bodies also had the fittest minds, measured via a maths and reading test.

When Prof Lynn considers prospective students for his university course, grades being equal, he will favour those who play sport to a high level.
“It’s true that you can’t study as hard as you or I might wish if you are an elite athlete, but you are used to performing at that level. The potential and the competitive spirit are there.

“At UCL, we have a bright bunch of students and a high proportion of them are physically active.
“This image – that if you are sporty, you must be thick – is more about wanting to put people down. The polymath is not that unusual. Think of the Nobel-prize winner Prof Vivian Hill who was also an Olympic athlete.”
A word of warning: if your training programme includes a congratulatory drink after the work-out, then you’ll undo all your good work, according to Prof Lynn, as “alcohol depresses neurogenesis.”

So by all means take up golf – just steer clear of the 19th hole.

The Alzheimer’s connection

Matching names to faces is one of the first skills to go as our memory starts to deteriorate. The area of the brain where this happens is the dentate gyrus – the area that the Columbia university researchers noticed was seeing cell regeneration after exercise. A separate study at Illinois University has seen improvement in the frontal lobes after exercise: this area is connected to what is known as the Executive Function – which covers decision-making, forward planning and multi-tasking.

It’s no wonder Professor Simon Lovestone, a specialist in old age psychiatry at King’s College London, finds the evidence very interesting and with definite implications for the study of Alzheimer’s.

‘An increasing amount of evidence shows that activity is beneficial – both in people and in mice – although we’re not sure of the mechanism,’ he says. Scientists have already discovered that ageing mice – which were made to exercise more by running on wheels – fared better in memory tests. Carl Cotman, a neuroscientist at the University of California, found that those mice which are susceptible to a similar disease to Alzheimer’s, characterised by levels of plaque in the brain, had lower levels of plaque when he put them to the treadmill.

He concluded that it might inhibit the development of the plaque or stimulate cells to clear it away. Prof Lovestone explains this is significant. ‘People who routinely exercise are quite different to those who don’t in terms of diet, affluence, class and general lifestyle. Yet mice don’t have class or affluence differences – so while the jury is out on how this works, exercise clearly has a direct effect on the brain.’

Keywords: walks, diet, healthy, GI, activity

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