LOS ANGELES — Modifying 12 risk factors over a lifetime could delay or prevent 40% of dementia cases, according to an updated report by the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC 2020).
Twenty-eight world-leading dementia experts added three new risk factors in the new report — excessive alcohol intake and head injury in mid-life and air pollution in later life. These are in addition to nine factors previously identified by the commission in 2017: less education early in life; mid-life hearing loss, hypertension and obesity; and smoking, depression, social isolation, physical inactivity and diabetes later in life (65 and up).
Schneider and commission members recommend that policymakers and individuals adopt the following interventions:
Aim to maintain systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or less from the age of 40.
Encourage use of hearing aids for hearing loss and reduce hearing loss by protecting ears from high noise levels.
Reduce exposure to air pollution and second-hand tobacco smoke.
Prevent head injury (particularly by targeting high-risk occupations).
Limit alcohol intake to no more than 21 units per week (one unit of alcohol equals 10 ml or 8 g pure alcohol).
Stop smoking and support others to stop smoking.
Provide all children with primary and secondary education.
Lead an active life into mid-life and possibly later life.
Reduce obesity and the linked condition of diabetes.
Even limited hearing loss might be associated with cognitive decline. If true, early intervention with hearing aids might help people have better cognitive performance.
Michael Johns III, MD, online editor for JAMA Otolaryngology, speaks with Justin Golub, MD, MS, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Columbia University, whose research has shown that very mild hearing loss can be associated with cognitive disability.
Huey Lewis and the News are in the mood to celebrate, joking about their age as they prepare for the release of what is almost certainly their last album, titled “Weather.” At 69, Lewis, who has performed in bands for most of his life, had no intention of slowing down, but his diagnosis of Meniere’s Disease – a hearing disorder which has affected his voice – has made the decision for him. John Blackstone reports.
At Penn Medicine ENT, we offer patients the most advanced developments in hearing technology. Our multidisciplinary approach to medicine ensures that each patient path is tailored to the patient’s specific needs.
When they come to our center, patients typically begin by having a diagnostic assessment.
Often, those patients are also seeing an ear, nose and throat physician after they have their hearing evaluation.
Together, the team can then make the appropriate recommendation of what should come next.
In terms of hearing devices, we offer access to almost every hearing aid manufacturer available, as well as advanced implantable technology. This includes the auditory brain stem implant, which Penn Medicine is the first in the region to offer.
Hearing is currently the only sense that we can completely restore. We’re proud to be able to offer our patients everything available to help restore their communication with family and friends.
…the researchers demonstrated that the biggest drop in cognitive ability occurs at the slightest level of hearing loss — a decline from zero to the “normal” level of 25 decibels, with smaller cognitive losses occurring when hearing deficits rise from 25 to 50 decibels.
There may be no easy fix for the loneliness epidemic plaguing the nation, but helping people cope with hearing loss could be one key to tackling this complex problem. Hearing loss affects 1 of every 5 people and is strongly linked to loneliness: Every decibel drop in perception in people under 70 increases the odds of becoming severely lonely by 7%, one Dutch study showed.
As hearing declines, loneliness can intensify — and set off a cascade of detrimental health effects. Now considered as hazardous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, loneliness vastly raises the risks of depression, dementia and early death.
Yet the vast majority of people who suffer from hearing loss don’t know they have a problem — or don’t want to know. The changes happen gradually, and often earlier than expected.