Author(s): Fischer ME, Cruickshanks KJ, Schubert CR, Pinto AA, Carlsson CM, Klein BE,Klein R, Tweed TS. age-related sensory impairments and risk of cognitive impairment. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Oct;64(10):1981-1987. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14308. Epub 2016 Sep 9. PMID 27611845
Journal: Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society, Volume 64, Issue 10, 10 2016
OBJECTIVES To evaluate the associations between sensory impairments and 10-year risk of cognitive impairment.
DESIGN The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (EHLS), a longitudinal, population-based study of aging in the Beaver Dam, Wisconsin community. Baseline examinations were conducted in 1993 and follow-up examinations have been conducted every 5 years.
SETTING General community.
PARTICIPANTS EHLS members without cognitive impairment at EHLS-2 (1998-2000). There were 1,884 participants (mean age 66.7) with complete EHLS-2 sensory data and follow-up information.
MEASUREMENTS Cognitive impairment was defined as a Mini-Mental State Examination score of 25 dB hearing level in either ear, visual impairment was a Pelli-Robson contrast sensitivity of <1.55 log units in the better eye, and olfactory impairment was a San Diego Odor Identification Test score of <6.
RESULTS Hearing, visual, and olfactory impairment were independently associated with cognitive impairment risk (hearing: hazard ratio (HR) = 1.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.11-3.26; vision: HR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.24-3.38; olfaction: HR = 3.92, 95% CI = 2.45-6.26)). Nevertheless, 85% of participants with hearing impairment, 81% with visual impairment, and 76% with olfactory impairment did not develop cognitive impairment during follow-up.
CONCLUSION The relationship between sensory impairment and cognitive impairment was not unique to one sensory system, suggesting that sensorineural health may be a marker of brain aging. The development of a combined sensorineurocognitive measure may be useful in uncovering mechanisms of healthy brain aging.