Navigation Links
Study Suggests Hearing Loss-Dementia Link

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who experience hearing loss may face a higher risk of dementia and perhaps Alzheimer's disease than those who don't suffer hearing loss, new research suggests.

And the greater the loss, the greater the risk, the study suggested.

"This work suggests that there is a strong predictive association between hearing loss as an adult and the likelihood of developing cognitive decline with aging," said study lead author Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, chief of the U.S. National Institute on Aging's Longitudinal Studies Section, as well as director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.

Ferrucci and his colleagues report their findings in the February issue of the journal Archives of Neurology.

The authors noted that by the middle of the century, about 100 million men and women worldwide (about one in 85) will be affected by dementia.

The researchers' investigation into the potential association between hearing loss and dementia focused on 639 men and women between the ages of 36 and 90, none of whom had dementia at the start of the study in 1990.

Cognitive and hearing tests were conducted over a four-year period, followed by patient tracking through 2008 (for an average of about 12 years) to monitor for signs of dementia and/or Alzheimer's.

The researchers noted that 125 study participants were diagnosed with "mild" hearing loss, while another 53 had "moderate" loss, and six had "severe" loss.

Ultimately, 58 patients were diagnosed with dementia, of whom 37 had Alzheimer's disease.

By cross-referencing their data, the researchers found that mild hearing loss was linked to a slight increase in dementia risk, but the risk increased noticeably among those with moderate and severe hearing loss.

For participants 60 and older, more than 36 percent of dementia risk was linked to hearing loss, the study said.

The worse the hearing loss, the worse the risk for Alzheimer's as well. For every additional loss of 10 decibels of hearing capacity, Alzheimer's risk appeared to go up by 20 percent, the researchers said.

The authors suggested that if further studies confirm the findings, this could lead to the development of new strategies to try to reduce dementia risk. For example, the finding theoretically suggests that efforts to correct hearing loss by means of hearing aids and surgery could potentially cut back on dementia risk.

"But as a scientist I cannot yet say that curing hearing loss will prevent dementia," Ferrucci said. "We have now opened a window on this association. But there is still a lot of work to be done before we can be sure there is actually a causal relationship."

Dr. Richard B. Lipton, vice chair of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, called the new study an "interesting" exploration that is predicated on "the widespread notion that chronological age may not be the best measure of biological age."

"Some people have suggested that the most powerful risk factor that we know of for Alzheimer's is age itself," he noted. "The older you are the more likely you are to develop the disease. And we know that risk doubles every five years after the age of 65," Lipton added.

"But some 90-year-olds are in nursing homes, while others are on the golf course. So here we have the notion that hearing loss may be a kind of biological, rather than chronological, measure of aging. In other words, an indication that someone is not actually aging all that well," he said.

"Another idea is that hearing loss might result from damage to nerve cells," Lipton added. "That means damage to the hearing organ and inner ear structure called the cochlea, and the hair cells that pick up the pattern of vibration that the sound produces in the ear. And if there's damage to the neurons that mediate hearing, that may be a kind of marker for similar damage to nerve cells involved in memory and higher cognition," he explained.

"And then a third possibility is that there's a lot of evidence that hearing loss is very socially isolating, just as there's a lot of evidence that cognitive engagement protects against dementia. And that would mean that the loss of cognitive stimulation could itself contribute to the risk for Alzheimer's," Lipton said.

More information

For more on risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association.

SOURCES: Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., Ph.D., chief, Longitudinal Studies Section, and director, Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, U.S. National Institute on Aging; Richard B. Lipton, M.D., professor, vice chair, neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; February 2011, Archives of Neurology

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Despite Treatment, Employees with Depression Generate Higher Absentee Costs, According to Thomson Reuters Study
2. American Council on Exercise (ACE) Study Reveals Kettlebells Provide Powerful Workout in Short Amount of Time
3. TV drama can be more persuasive than news program, study finds
4. Study carried out into biological risks of eating reptiles
5. Neuroimaging study may pave way for effective Alzheimers treatments
6. Study finds racial gaps continue in heart disease awareness
7. Luth Researchs IndicatorEDG(TM) Study Finds Americans Hopes of Achieving Their Dreams Are Fading
8. First blinded study of venous insufficiency prevalence in MS shows promising results
9. Soothing infants with food focus of childhood obesity study
10. People with anxiety disorder less able to regulate response to negative emotions, study shows
11. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report: Study Finds Racial Gaps Continue in Heart Disease Awareness, Low Knowledge of Heart Attack Warning Signs Among Women
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by ... to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from ... the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Many women are ... with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to not only alleviate symptoms ... can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving a pregnancy. The specialists ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn ... to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization ... selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn ... specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand ... all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, ... and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained ... Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition ... - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... to date financial data derived from varied research sources to ... potential impact on the market during the next five years, ... of sub markets, regional and country level analysis. The report ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Bracket , ... launch its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) ... held on June 26 – 30, 2016 in ... first electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its kind to ... #715. Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible platform ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... and BOGOTA, Colombia , June 23, 2016  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas ... Brasil as the company,s second affiliate in Latin America . ... ... of Astellas Farma Colombia ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: