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      Thyroid Disease Is Associated with Higher Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risk: Results from a Meta-Analysis of Epidemiologic Studies


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          Background: Although epidemiologic studies have suggested that thyroid disease may be a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), this finding is still controversial. Objectives: The aim of this meta-analysis was to investigate whether an association exists between thyroid disease and medication and AMD in epidemiologic studies. Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and Google Scholar from their inception to March 2020 for cross-sectional, case-control, and cohort studies that assessed thyroid function and AMD risk. Data from selected studies were extracted, and a meta-analysis was performed using fixed-effects or random-effects models. The statistical heterogeneity ( I<sup>2</sup>) among studies and the possibility of publication bias were evaluated. If I<sup>2</sup> >50%, a significant heterogeneity existed among studies, and a random-effects model was used to calculate the pooled RR. Otherwise, a fixed-effects model was performed. Results: A total of 13 epidemiologic studies that consisted of 7 thyroid disease and 7 thyroid medication studies were included. Statistically significant heterogeneity was observed in the study results ( I<sup>2</sup><sub>thyroid disease</sub> = 80.1%; I<sup>2</sup><sub>thyroid medication</sub> = 69.0%). A significant positive association was found between thyroid disease and AMD, with an overall relative risk (RR) of 1.25 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.54). However, there was no statistical association between thyroid medication and AMD risk (pooled RR 1.26 [95% CI: 0.92–1.72]). Egger’s test indicated that there was no significant publication bias for thyroid disease ( p = 0.889) or thyroid medication ( p = 0.226). Conclusions: Our findings indicate that thyroid disease is associated with higher AMD risk. Thyroid disease prevention strategies may have a significant effect on the prevention of AMD and warrant further evaluation.

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          Most cited references31

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          Measuring inconsistency in meta-analyses.

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            Is Open Access

            Global prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and disease burden projection for 2020 and 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

            Numerous population-based studies of age-related macular degeneration have been reported around the world, with the results of some studies suggesting racial or ethnic differences in disease prevalence. Integrating these resources to provide summarised data to establish worldwide prevalence and to project the number of people with age-related macular degeneration from 2020 to 2040 would be a useful guide for global strategies. We did a systematic literature review to identify all population-based studies of age-related macular degeneration published before May, 2013. Only studies using retinal photographs and standardised grading classifications (the Wisconsin age-related maculopathy grading system, the international classification for age-related macular degeneration, or the Rotterdam staging system) were included. Hierarchical Bayesian approaches were used to estimate the pooled prevalence, the 95% credible intervals (CrI), and to examine the difference in prevalence by ethnicity (European, African, Hispanic, Asian) and region (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and Oceania). UN World Population Prospects were used to project the number of people affected in 2014 and 2040. Bayes factor was calculated as a measure of statistical evidence, with a score above three indicating substantial evidence. Analysis of 129,664 individuals (aged 30-97 years), with 12,727 cases from 39 studies, showed the pooled prevalence (mapped to an age range of 45-85 years) of early, late, and any age-related macular degeneration to be 8.01% (95% CrI 3.98-15.49), 0.37% (0.18-0.77), and 8.69% (4.26-17.40), respectively. We found a higher prevalence of early and any age-related macular degeneration in Europeans than in Asians (early: 11.2% vs 6.8%, Bayes factor 3.9; any: 12.3% vs 7.4%, Bayes factor 4.3), and early, late, and any age-related macular degeneration to be more prevalent in Europeans than in Africans (early: 11.2% vs 7.1%, Bayes factor 12.2; late: 0.5% vs 0.3%, 3.7; any: 12.3% vs 7.5%, 31.3). There was no difference in prevalence between Asians and Africans (all Bayes factors <1). Europeans had a higher prevalence of geographic atrophy subtype (1.11%, 95% CrI 0.53-2.08) than Africans (0.14%, 0.04-0.45), Asians (0.21%, 0.04-0.87), and Hispanics (0.16%, 0.05-0.46). Between geographical regions, cases of early and any age-related macular degeneration were less prevalent in Asia than in Europe and North America (early: 6.3% vs 14.3% and 12.8% [Bayes factor 2.3 and 7.6]; any: 6.9% vs 18.3% and 14.3% [3.0 and 3.8]). No significant gender effect was noted in prevalence (Bayes factor <1.0). The projected number of people with age-related macular degeneration in 2020 is 196 million (95% CrI 140-261), increasing to 288 million in 2040 (205-399). These estimates indicate the substantial global burden of age-related macular degeneration. Summarised data provide information for understanding the effect of the condition and provide data towards designing eye-care strategies and health services around the world. National Medical Research Council, Singapore. Copyright © 2014 Wong et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY-NC-ND. Published by .. All rights reserved.
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              Is Open Access

              Plea for routinely presenting prediction intervals in meta-analysis

              Objectives Evaluating the variation in the strength of the effect across studies is a key feature of meta-analyses. This variability is reflected by measures like τ2 or I2, but their clinical interpretation is not straightforward. A prediction interval is less complicated: it presents the expected range of true effects in similar studies. We aimed to show the advantages of having the prediction interval routinely reported in meta-analyses. Design We show how the prediction interval can help understand the uncertainty about whether an intervention works or not. To evaluate the implications of using this interval to interpret the results, we selected the first meta-analysis per intervention review of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issues 2009–2013 with a dichotomous (n=2009) or continuous (n=1254) outcome, and generated 95% prediction intervals for them. Results In 72.4% of 479 statistically significant (random-effects p 0), the 95% prediction interval suggested that the intervention effect could be null or even be in the opposite direction. In 20.3% of those 479 meta-analyses, the prediction interval showed that the effect could be completely opposite to the point estimate of the meta-analysis. We demonstrate also how the prediction interval can be used to calculate the probability that a new trial will show a negative effect and to improve the calculations of the power of a new trial. Conclusions The prediction interval reflects the variation in treatment effects over different settings, including what effect is to be expected in future patients, such as the patients that a clinician is interested to treat. Prediction intervals should be routinely reported to allow more informative inferences in meta-analyses.

                Author and article information

                Ophthalmic Res
                Ophthalmic Research
                S. Karger AG
                September 2021
                17 February 2021
                : 64
                : 5
                : 696-703
                [_a] aDepartment of Ophthalmology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China
                [_b] bSchool of Life Science, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
                [_c] cGerontology Institute, The First Affiliated Hospital of USTC, Division of Life Sciences and Medicine, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
                [_d] dAnhui Provincial Key Laboratory of Tumor Immunotherapy and Nutrition Therapy, Hefei, China
                515273 Ophthalmic Res 2021;64:696–703
                © 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                : 07 September 2020
                : 30 January 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 1, Pages: 8

                Vision sciences,Ophthalmology & Optometry,Pathology
                Thyroid medication,Thyroid hormone,Thyrotropin,Age-related macular degeneration,Meta-analysis


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