The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Bilberry for age-related macular degeneration: What is the evidence?

    European bilberry and its close relative blueberry have been a popular symptomatic treatment for a variety of eye disorders. Bilberry fruit and its extracts contain a number of biologically active components, including a class of compounds called anthocyanosides.

    But is bilberry (or blueberry) effective for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in humans?

    One study in rats supports its use. And during the most recent Canadian Ophthalmological Society meeting, one study of blueberry juice improved dark adaptation in patients with AMD. A second study of dehydrated blueberries was negative.

    It’s difficult to make any definitive statement about the berries. In one review,

    • 7 non-randomized controlled trials reported positive effects


    • 4 out of 5 with a placebo control were negative
    • Negative outcomes were associated with more rigorously designed studies but also with lower doses

    It’s another example of conducting clinical research in the absence of the foundation provided by sound laboratory and dose-ranging studies. Extracts from geographically distinct sources may differ in anthocyanoside composition. Until the active ingredients in bilberry become standardized, additional clinical trial results are likely to be unreliable.

    Illustration: Kiantama

    8/18/06 19:07 JR

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