Could grapes be the ‘magic bullet’ for cataracts?


Share this story:

By Jan Jarvis

Hongli Wu

 

Grapes are more than sweet treats in the eyes of one UNT Health Science Center researcher, who is studying how the fruit can prevent cataracts.

Whether they’re green, red or black, grapes appear to have significant health benefits, said Hongli Wu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and in the North Texas Eye Research Institute.

some grapesWith the help of a $30,000 grant from the California Table Grape Commission, Dr. Wu plans to show that grapes play a significant role in preserving eye health.

“I hope to prove that eating grapes could be the magic bullet in the fight against cataracts,” she said.

Cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans and are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. By age 80, more than half of adults in the United States will have a cataract or undergone surgery to remove one.

Dr. Wu made a connection between grapes and cataracts based on studies that show people living in the Mediterranean basin live longer, healthier lives than other populations. Their diet, which includes a lot of grapes and wine, has been shown to have numerous health benefits.

“They also have fewer cataracts than other aging populations,” Dr. Wu said. “This gives us a clue that grapes may have anti-cataract benefits.”

The research is conducted using a freeze-dried whole grape powder, designed to facilitate reproducible data and to provide researchers with a sample that is available year round.

For her research, Dr. Wu is focusing on cataracts caused by ultraviolet light, which has been shown to be a risk factor. Studies suggest that antioxidants protect the function of cells and that a decrease of antioxidants may be a factor in the decline of vision.

“Grapes boost the body’s antioxidant enzymes, which work to directly fight free radicals to maintain balance in the lens so that the eye is more resistant to aging,” she said. “My hypothesis is that grapes not only directly fight against free radicals, they also boost the self-defense system.”

Share this story:

Zoonotic Disease Fair to cover important topics for Texas

By Sally Crocker   UNTHSC students, faculty and staff are invited to the 2nd Annual Zoonotic Disease Fair from noon to 3 p.m. on Nov. 21 to learn about some of the common diseases found in Texas that can be passed from animals to humans. “It pays to be aware,” said public health st...Read more

Nov 16, 2017

A champion of the underdog

By Alex Branch   Amy Raines Milenkov, MPH, DrPH, has always cared about the underdog. She cared about the low-income women and children afflicted with HIV or AIDS who she helped as a social worker in the 1990s, when life-saving drug cocktails were only emerging. She cared for the vu...Read more

Nov 13, 2017

Using teamwork to train better healthcare leaders

By Jan Jarvis Catherine Daniel, a first-year student in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, clicked on the keys of her laptop, searching for data about a program to address infant mortality in Tarrant County. “There needs to be a better way of identifying high risk people,” she ...Read more

Nov 13, 2017

Palladino Family

Student vets proud to see UNTHSC designated a Purple Heart University

By Alex Branch Gary and Aundrea Palladino met while serving in the U.S. Air Force as pharmacy technicians at Joint Base Andrews in Washington, D.C. At the three pharmacies on base, Gary and Aundrea filled prescriptions and managed inventory, compounded IV and topical medication orders, and...Read more

Nov 9, 2017