Dr Liubov Robman MBBS, PhD
2011 Blackmores Dr Paul Beaumont Fellowship
In October 2011 Dr Liubov Robman was awarded a Blackmores Dr Paul Beaumont Fellowship to support her research (commencing 2012) entitled 'Dietary patterns and risk of age-related macular degeneration'.
Dr Robman is a Senior Research Fellow in the Macular Research Unit, Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne. Dr Robman received her degree in Medicine and her first PhD (Ophthalmic Surgery) in the Soviet Union, and second PhD (Ophthalmic Epidemiology) at The University of Melbourne, Australia. Dr Robman has worked for over 15 years in age-related macular degeneration research, specifically investigating the risk factors for age-related macular degeneration and its progression. She has played key roles in a number of randomised controlled trials on age-related macular degeneration. She has trained CERA staff to conduct eye imaging and has led and supervised age-related macular degeneration grading teams in a number of studies.
Previous research has found strong associations between particular foods and risk of age-related macular degeneration, yet it can be difficult for people to follow very strict dietary guidelines. This study aimed to identify the associations between broader dietary patterns and age-related macular degeneration by mining data from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, the largest single cohort study in the world. It also analysed lifestyle habits and genetic predisposition in relation to age-related macular degeneration risk. The ethnic diversity (Greek, Italian and Anglo-Saxon), wide ranges of diet and the very large sample size provided a unique opportunity to investigate these associations. By conducting this large-scale dietary pattern, lifestyle and genetic analyses, the project aimed to provide more specific advice on how to modify individual risk of age-related macular degeneration progression.
The one-year project has been completed. Data from over 21,000 participants in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study were analysed to determine the eating patterns that reduce the risk of disease progression. It was found that people who have a diet consisting primarily of a combination of grains, fish, steamed or boiled chicken, vegetables and nuts had a significantly reduced risk of both early and late age-related macular degeneration. These findings are very consistent with the dietary recommendations of the Foundation.
The study also indicated that excessive consumption of red meat had a significantly increased risk of late age-related macular degeneration, so a balanced diet, which includes fish and green leafy vegetables is important.
About the Blackmores Dr Paul Beaumont Research Fellowship
The Blackmores Dr Paul Beaumont Research Fellowship was launched in 2011 in recognition of the Foundation's Founding Director, Dr Paul Beaumont. The Foundation is most grateful to Blackmores for supporting this Fellowship. The Fellowship is awarded to researchers based in eligible Australian institutions to pursue research into nutritional and/or lifestyle aspects of macular degeneration, consistent with the mission of the Foundation to reduce the incidence and impact of macular degeneration.