The surprising link between blindness and brain power

Back in March, I told you how rates of diabetic retinopathy are skyrocketing (“The diabetes risk you can’t see,” RHC 3/27/12). Unfortunately, the news is just getting worse.

Now, a new study links retinopathy with a decline in brain function.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, examined this link in older women.

Researchers found that women who had developed retinopathy in the previous 10 years also scored lower in tests regarding brain function, memory, and abstract reasoning. And brain scans found damaged brain tissue.

It makes sense if you think about it. The same tiny blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to keep your eyes healthy are also responsible for “feeding” your brain.

So the best thing you can do to prevent both of these problems is to make sure your blood vessels are getting all the support they need. It won’t just protect your retinas and your brain, but every critical organ in your body. They all depend on the small blood vessels and capillaries to deliver the oxygen-rich blood that keeps them operating up to par.

I gave some detailed advice about how to keep blood vessels healthy back in the November 2011 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter.

“Cognitive function and retinal and ischemic brain changes,” Neurology 2012; 78(13):942-949