Dual hearing, vision loss almost doubles dementia risk

  • Alzheimers Dement
  • 7 Jul 2020

  • curated by Susan London
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Older adults with both hearing and vision impairment have roughly double the risks for all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Why this matters

  • These impairments may be modifiable risk factors.

Study design

  • US multicenter, randomized controlled trial among 2051 cognitively healthy adults age ≥75 years (Gingko Evaluation of Memory Study).
  • Main outcomes: all-cause dementia; probable or possible Alzheimer's disease.
  • Funding: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Office of Dietary Supplements and National Institute on Aging; others.

Key results

  • Baseline prevalences according to self-report:
    • Hearing impairment only: 7.8%.
    • Vision impairment only: 14.9%.
    • Dual hearing and vision impairment: 5.1%.
  • During 8-year follow-up, vs peers with neither sensory impairment, older adults with dual hearing and vision impairment had elevated multivariate risks for:
    • All‐cause dementia: HR, 1.86 (95% CI, 1.25-2.76).
    • Alzheimer's disease: HR, 2.12 (95% CI, 1.34-3.36).
  • All-cause dementia risk was significantly higher with vs without isolated vision impairment (HR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.02-1.71).
  • The more severe the dual sensory impairment, the greater the risk for all-cause dementia (P for trend=.02).
  • No significant associations were seen for vascular dementia.

Limitations

  • Uncertain accuracy of self-report.
  • Hearing, vision assessed only once.
  • Exclusion of those with severe hearing loss.
  • Cohort largely healthy and white.