This project seeks the explore the associations between a variety of ageing biomarkers and the presence and progression of Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). While Age is the most significant risk factor for the development of AMD the precise mechanisms driving this relationship are not well understood.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the main cause of registerable sight loss in the UK. Despite age being the strongest risk factor for AMD, the precise mechanisms driving this relationship are not well understood. A variety of methods for characterising “biological age” are available either encompassing clinical manifestation of aging such as frailty indices, composite markers of multi-system biological dysregulation such as allostatic load or epigenetic clocks which represent cumulative DNA damage via methylation patterns. The Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Aging (NICOLA) (https://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/NICOLA/ ) and The Irish Longitudinal Study (TILDA) (https://tilda.tcd.ie/ )have extensive information on participants to enable the calculation of these indices as well as AMD classification from retinal grading. Genome-wide association study data (GWAS) is available from NICOLA and major AMD risk loci typed within TILDA to allow the genetic risk factors to be accounted for within the analysis. Understanding the mechanisms which drive earlier onset of this sight threatening disease in some people will be important in developing prophylactic therapies and identifying those most at risk.
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