Could grapes be the ‘magic bullet’ for cataracts?
By Jan Jarvis
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.
With 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.”
By Jeff Carlton The databases of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) contain files on more than 1,000 active missing person cases in Texas and about 14,000 nationwide – each one a tragedy for the families involved. “I’m not sure we can help a family fin...Read more
Apr 18, 2018
By Alex Branch Rita Patterson, PhD, a UNT Health Science Center Professor, has been inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows, one of the highest professional distinctions for medical and biological engineers. Dr. Patterson was rec...Read more
Apr 16, 2018
By Raul Vintimilla, Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience I had earned my medical degree and finished a three-year hospital residency in Cuenca, Ecuador when I decided to move my family to the United States. I had discovered during my training that clinical care was not my pass...Read more
Apr 11, 2018
By Alex Branch Brandy Schwarz, DPT, is an educator, mentor and innovator. The UNT Health Science Center Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy adopts all three roles as she prepares students to become health care providers of the future. The Fort Worth Business Press will honor D...Read more
Apr 10, 2018