1. Cognitive decline linked to vision loss

    What fading eyesight does to your brain

    It's the dementia risk factor that you can "see."

    Or, more accurately, NOT seeing is the risk factor -- because new research shows that if your eyesight starts to fade, your mind might not be far behind.

    Overall, vision loss -- especially with your distance vision -- will double or even TRIPLE your risk of cognitive struggles, including impairment, decline, and even dementia.

    That's bad news when you consider that vision loss is as common among seniors as gray hair and wrinkles.

    There are so many conditions that can steal your vision as you age, from plain old nearsightedness to cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinopathy, and more.

    Even certain MEDS can cause your sight to fade.

    The new study finds that no matter the reason, if your distance vision drops below 20/40, you should watch out for the warning signs of cognitive decline -- because you're at risk.

    But it's also a little more complicated than just that one number alone.

    The REAL risk factor isn't just a certain degree of vision loss. It's how it affects your day-to-day living.

    Folks who believe their vision loss is causing struggles with everyday activity have the highest risk of suffering from cognitive decline and dementia.

    That's almost certainly a sign that the problem isn't simply vision loss by itself.

    It's uncorrected vision loss -- because if it were corrected, it wouldn't cause as many struggles with daily life.

    So why don't people get it taken care of?

    Some folks are too proud to wear glasses... some put off going to the eye doctor... and some are in denial.

    And some are just plain AFRAID of corrective actions, such as cataract surgery.

    Whatever the cause, the effect is the same: When your vision loss is so severe that it affects your day-to-day living, you end up losing more than your eyesight.

    A s vision problems stop you from getting out, y ou can lose your social connections, especially if they prevent you from driving.

    Everything from Bingo Night to coffee with friends to just being able to do your own shopping can plug you into the world around you and help keep your brain healthy as you get older.

    When those social connections get unplugged, your gray matter loses power and could eventually go dark, as the new study shows.

    Don't let your own eyesight fade. Take action to get it fixed ASAP, especially if the answer is something as simple as a new pair of glasses.

    Even conditions such as macular degeneration can be stopped if you take action now.

    I'll have more on a simple way to do just that coming up later today. Keep an eye out for this one!

  2. Fish oil and vitamin A can save your vision

    Some two million people around the world suffer from a serious degenerative eye disease that literally has no treatment at all beyond "cross your fingers and hope for the best."

    But if you're suffering from the gradual -- and ultimately total -- loss of vision that marks retinitis pigmentosa, you don't have to cross your fingers anymore.

    New research led by Harvard University shows an easy way to stop this frightening condition in its tracks -- and it's not a new drug with side effects or an operation with risks.

    It's an ordinary vitamin mixed with a little bit of fish.

    Three clinical trials show that megadoses of vitamin A -- 15,000 IU a day -- combined with 0.2 grams a day of omega-3 fatty acids can slow the loss of vision by between 40 percent and 50 percent.

    In real numbers, that could add up to an extra 18 years of vision.

    The researchers don't know for sure why roughly two servings of fatty fish a week can have such a powerful impact on all that vitamin A, but they've got their eyes on one omega-3 fatty acid in particular: DHA.

    Your retina is already loaded with DHA (which is why fatty fish -- not carrots -- is what you should be eating for good vision even if you're healthy). And in the case of retinitis pigmentosa, the researchers believe extra DHA is needed to help carry the vitamin A from the photoreceptor cells that have it to those that don't.

    The result isn't a cure for retinitis pigmentosa, but it could dramatically change the prognosis.

    Right now, someone with this condition can expect to go blind by the age of 60. With vitamin A and fish oil, that might be delayed until they're almost 80 -- or right around our actual life expectancy these days.

    Since too much vitamin A can interfere with vitamin D and may even increase your risk of osteoporosis, don't try treating yourself on this one -- talk to your doctor about the best and safest way to raise your A levels.

    And don't forget to add the fish oil -- because along with helping to slow retinitis pigmentosa, omega-3 fatty acids can also slash your risk of both the "wet" and "dry" forms of macular degeneration.

  3. Sex is safe for heart patients

    Just because you're a heart patient doesn't mean you have to miss out on some Valentine's Day romance. There's still one "do" you can do: If you can climb a flight of stairs without suffering chest pain or a bout of gasping, you can have sex -- even if you had a heart attack just last week, according to the latest advice from the American Heart Association.
  4. Red wine: exercise in a glass

    You might think the only "exercise" you'll get from drinking wine comes from lifting the glass -- or maybe struggling to open the bottle. But it turns out resveratrol, the famous "red wine antioxidant," can actually trick the body into thinking it's getting some actual exercise -- giving you a big-time metabolic boost with every little sip.
  5. 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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