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Dementia risk doubles if people have both vision and hearing loss

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As people age and begin to lose hearing or vision, they might be at larger risk for dementia

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Older adults who begin dropping both vision and hearing could also be at an elevated risk of creating dementia.

Gihwan Byeon at Kangwon National University Hospital within the South Korea and his colleagues studied 6250 people, aged 58 to 101, over six years. At the beginning of the examine, they requested every particular person to charge his or her personal capacity to see and hear. The contributors additionally underwent cognitive testing each two years.


The group discovered that 7.6 per cent of these reporting both vision and hearing loss had dementia at first of the examine, and one other 7.4 per cent developed it inside six years.

Meanwhile solely 2.4 per cent of people with solely vision loss or hearing loss had dementia at first of the examine, and one other 2.9 per cent developed it by the tip of the examine.

Adjusting for different components that affect dementia, resembling intercourse, schooling and earnings, the researchers estimate that people with impairments of both vision and hearing are twice as prone to develop dementia as people with just one or neither impairment.

The outcomes are “very tantalising,” says Jason Warren at University College London, who was not concerned within the examine. However, the findings should be thought of with warning, he provides, because the hearing and vision loss had been self-reported and not measured instantly.

Even so, this might present perception into the cognitive decline that people with hearing and vision loss expertise, says Warren. “We see and hear with our brains, and the first sign of a failing brain in dementia may well be an inability to navigate the complex sensory environments of everyday life,” he says.

Byeon wonders whether or not the brains of people with both hearing and vision loss may wrestle to compensate for the misplaced senses. Usually, people with impaired vision develop higher hearing to compensate, and people with impaired hearing rely extra on their vision to assist out, he says. “Dual sensory impairment may not be compensated for, making [the brain] more vulnerable to dementia,” he says.

Journal reference: Neurology, DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000011845

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Updated on April 13, 2021 1:11 am

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