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    Wellbeing and AMD

    Meet a researcher: Ms Diana Tang

    Exercise, diet and social support for people living with AMD

    The effects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) ripple a lot further than just the eyes.

    Studies show that people with AMD have worse diets, are less physically active, and suffer higher rates of depression than those without the disease.

    Macquarie University’s Diana Tang is trying to change that.

    Thanks to an MDFA research grant, Ms Tang is delivering holistic online support for AMD patients, bringing together social interaction, physical activity and nutrition education.

    One of eight successful applicants for the latest round of MDFA research grants, Ms Tang is now rolling out the Movement, Interaction and Nutrition for Greater Lifestyles in the Elderly – or MINGLE – program.

    “This program aims to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of people with AMD through social interaction to reduce loneliness, exercise to improve physical health including balance, and nutrition education to improve knowledge and dietary practices in an accessible and COVID-safe online platform,” Ms Tang says.

    Movement, Interaction and Nutrition for Greater Lifestyles in the Elderly (MINGLE) program

    Led by a qualified dietitian and a physical activity researcher, the MINGLE program involves two phases.

    First, people living with AMD will discuss the program in focus groups and interviews. Then, Ms Tang’s research team use what they’ve learned to develop a pilot program and evaluate how well it works.

    Hosted by an accessible and COVID-safe Zoom platform, the MINGLE program aims to provide members of the AMD community an opportunity to socialise, practise exercises to prevent injuries and access nutrition advice.

    “Improving mental and physical wellbeing is important for overall health,” Ms Tang explains.

    “Poor diet, physical inactivity, depression, and loneliness can increase the risk of many health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and dementia. Poor diet and physical inactivity can also increase the risk of worsening AMD.

    “Therefore, this study – led by an accredited practicing dietitian and a physical activity researcher – will specifically target people living with AMD to develop and test the preliminary efficacy of the MINGLE program.”

    About the Research Grants Program

    Diana Tang was awarded $45,466 for this one-year project in the latest round of MDFA Research Grants Program funding, announced by His Excellency the Honourable David Hurley, Governor-General of Australia, at an event at Admiralty House in Sydney in May 2021.

    Ms Tang was one of eight researchers who shared a total funding pool of more than $1 million in this year’s announcement, bringing MDFA’s commitment to $5.1 million since 2011.

    Over the past decade, MDFA has become Australia’s largest source of research funding for macular disease outside of government, supporting 25 talented Australian researchers across the country.

    Posted: 19 May 2021

    This program aims to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of people with AMD through social interaction.

    Ms Diana Tang

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