eyes

  1. Eye disease linked to brain disorders

    Keep an eye on your eyes -- because your peepers just might be the first part of your body to spy dementia coming.

    That's especially true if your eyes are getting an up-close look at retinopathy, an eye condition that often leads to vision loss and even blindness.

    It's bad enough on its own, but now researchers say a new look at data on more than 500 women finds that dementia and retinopathy may come hand-in-hand -- or as close to hand-in-hand as brains and eyes can be, anyway.

    Researchers say women given annual memory and thinking tests for up to a decade were much more likely to flunk them if they had the eye disease -- and that was true even if they had the blood vessel damage in the retina that marks the condition, but didn't have any actual vision problems yet.

    Of course, that blood vessel damage isn't truly a disease all its own. Retinopathy is usually a warning of something else going on -- another condition that could be causing the same type of blood vessel damage in much less visible areas.

    Like the brain.

    And sure enough, brain scans of the women in the new study revealed that those who had the eye disease also had blood vessel damage inside the brain itself.

    Obviously, the answer here isn't just treating the eyes. It's finding and treating the underlying condition before it's too late. Or better yet, avoiding the condition in the first place -- and that means taking care of the rest of your body, because one of the leading causes of retinopathy is diabetes.

    In fact, the two conditions are so closely linked that diabetic retinopathy is now the leading cause of new blindness among middle-aged Americans -- and we know that diabetics are also more likely to suffer from dementia.

    You've heard of killing two birds with one stone, right? Avoid diabetes, and you'll likely avoid three diseases (or more) at the same time.

  2. Power your sperm with seafood

    Gentlemen, if you want to keep your sperm swimming -- and who doesn't? -- head on over to the nearest fish market and load up on tuna and salmon.

    The fattier the fish, the better -- because the same fatty acids that make these fish such healthy choices for everything from your heart to your eyes to your brain are also positively critical to your fertility.

    The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is one of the essential building blocks of sperm -- and a new study on mice shows how it's also a key part of the acrosome, which is what enables the sperm to penetrate the egg.

    You might say it's the most important part of all. The mice would agree: When they were denied DHA, they produced fewer sperm -- and the ones they did create were misshapen, rendering them infertile.

    But once DHA was put back into their diets, they began to produce again like, well, mice. (Side note: There has to be a pest-control angle in here somewhere).

    This is, of course, just one study on mice. But human studies have also shown how high levels of these essential fatty acids can boost your fertility.

    One study from just a couple of years back found that fertile men tended to have higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, while infertile men had higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids.

    And these days, with diets heavy in grain fed animals from factory farms, most of us get less of the desirable omega-3s and far more of the undesirable omega-6 fatty acids.

    Call it one more reason to switch to fresh all-natural grass-fed meats.

    Naturally, omega-3 fatty acids aren't the only answers for sperm health. A lot goes into male fertility -- and studies over the years have shown that high levels of vitamin D can boost the speed and forward motion of sperm, an essential trait called motility.

    Other studies have also shown that junk food, soda and the BPA used to line canned goods (including soda cans) can slash sperm levels and turn the ones that are left into the microscopic equivalent of couch potatoes: slow, lazy and uninterested in the quest for the egg.

    That would explain the recent rise in male infertility.

  3. The everyday pill that'll wreck your vision

    An aspirin a day won't do much for your heart, but it can do plenty for your eyes -- and not in a good way.
  4. Eyes linked to heart risk

    When it comes to heart disease, it looks like the eyes have it. Researchers say they can spot who's more likely to suffer the life-threatening condition by simply checking for yellow spots on the eyelids. People who have them face a 50-percent increase in the risk of a heart attack.
  5. The natural way to beat inflammation

    Inflammation has gone from a condition you should worry about to a marketing buzzword used to sell everything from drugs to juice to cereal. Well, at least they got it half right: You should worry about inflammation, and do what you can to bring your own levels down.
  6. Doctor, my eyes

    The risks of smartphones go far beyond thumbs, wrists and sanity: A new study finds that the devices might be doing a number on your eyes, too.

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