Background Dr. Eliot Berson was a member of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital and served as the William F. Chatlos Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. His vital research into retinitis pigmentosa (RP) yielded many important findings, including nutrition based approaches to slowing or stopping the effects of RP. This data set consists of 3 Clinical Trials conducted under Dr. Berson that detail treatment regimines for individuals with RP.
Description of Clinical Trials Data
Trial 1 (1984-1991) 601 adults with typical RP were treated with either vitamin A palmitate 15,000IU per day on average or vitamin E 400 IU per day to assess impact on cone electroretinograms (ERGs), an established predictor of disease progression. Patients treated with vitamin A showed a significant (P=0.01) slowing of retinal decline at the 99% confidence limit. A subset of these patients (n=125) also showed a significant preservation of visual field as assessed by Goldmann visual fields assessment. Longitudinal follow up over the 4-6 years of the study indicated that a dosage of 18,000 IU of vitamin A per day (15,000 IU by supplement combined with 3,000 IU by diet) provided the least decline in cone ERG.
Berson EI, Rosner B, Sandberg MA, Hayes KC, Nicholson BW, Beigel DiFranco C, Willett W. A randomized trial of vitamin A and vitamin E supplementation for retinitis pigmentosa. Arch Ophthalmol. 111:761-772; 1993.
Trial 2 (1996-2001) 221 adults with typical RP were treated either with 1200 mg DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) capsules per day versus control capsules. Building on the previous study, all participants also received 15,000 IU of vitamin A palmitate per day. Although no benefit was observed with the combined vitamin A + DHA protocol, a subgroup of the controls revealed that those who ate 200 mg DHA per day through oily fish had a 40-50% slower loss of central visual field sensitivity on the Humphrey perimeter over four years as compared to those eating less than one serving of oily fish per week.
Berson EL, Rosner B, Sandberg MA, Weigel-DiFranco C, Moser A, Brockhurst RJ, Hayes KC, Johnson CA, Anderson EJ, Gaudio AR, Willett WC, Schaefer EJ. Clinical trial of docosahexaenoic acid in patients with retinitis pigmentosa receiving vitamin A treatment. Arch Ophthalmol. 122:1297-305; 2004.
Berson EL, Rosner B, Sandberg MA, Weigel-DiFranco C, Moser A, Brockhurst RJ, Hayes KC, Johnson CA, Anderson EBerson J, Gaudio AR, Willett WC, Schaefer EJ. Further evaluation of docosahexaenoic acid in patients with retinitis pigmentosa receiving vitamin A treatment: subgroup analyses. Arch Ophthalmol. 122:1306-14; 2004.
Trial 3 (2003-2008) 225 adults with typical RP were given either 12 mg lutein per day or a control tablet, all in addition to 15,000 IU of vitamin A palmitate per day. The lutein treatment group slowed loss of mid-peripheral visual field sensitivity (total point score) but did not preserve central field sensitivity.
Berson EL, Rosner B, Sandberg MA, Weigel-DiFranco C, Brockhurst RJ, Hayes KC, Johnson EJ, Anderson EJ, Johnson CA, Gaudio AR, Willett WC, Schaefer EJ. Clinical trial of lutein in patients with retinitis pigmentosa receiving vitamin A. Arch Ophthalmol. 128:403-11; 2010.
Berson EL, Rosner B, Sandberg MA, Weigel-Difranco C, Willett WC. Omega-3 Intake and visual acuity in patients with retinitis pigmentosa receiving vitamin A. Arch Ophthalmol. 130:707-11; 2012.