Dual sensory impairment ups dementia risk
Older adults with both hearing and visual impairments—dual sensory impairment (DSI)—are at a significantly increased risk for dementia, according to a study published online July 7 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.
Phillip H. Hwang, from University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues evaluated the impact of DSI on dementia risk using data from 2,051 participants in the Gingko Evaluation of Memory Study. The risk of dementia associated with number of sensory impairments (none, one, or two) was estimated.
The researchers found that DSI was significantly associated with higher risk of all-cause dementia (hazard ratio, 1.86) and Alzheimer disease (hazard ratio, 2.12). Visual impairment alone was independently associated with an increased risk of all-cause dementia (hazard ratio, 1.32).
“Because the public health burden of dementia will increase over the next three decades, evaluation of vision and hearing function in older adults may help identify patients at elevated risk of developing dementia,” the authors write.