Dual sensory impairment in older adults and risk of dementia from the GEM Study

Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2020 Jul 7;12(1):e12054. doi: 10.1002/dad2.12054. eCollection 2020.


Introduction: Hearing and vision loss are independently associated with dementia, but the impact of dual sensory impairment (DSI) on dementia risk is not well understood.

Methods: Self-reported measures of hearing and vision were taken from 2051 participants at baseline from the Gingko Evaluation of Memory Study. Dementia status was ascertained using standardized criteria. Cox models were used to estimate risk of dementia associated with number of sensory impairments (none, one, or two).

Results: DSI was significantly associated with higher risk of all-cause dementia (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.86; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.25-2.76) and Alzheimer's disease (HR = 2.12; 95% CI = 1.34-3.36). Individually only visual impairment was independently associated with an increased risk of all-cause dementia (HR = 1.32; 95% CI = 1.02-1.71).

Discussion: Older adults with DSI are at a significantly increased risk for dementia. Further studies are needed to evaluate whether treatments can modify this risk.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Gingko Evaluation of Memory Study; dementia; dual sensory impairment (DSI); epidemiology; hearing; vision.