The purpose of this epidemiologic study is to determine the 5-year incidence of hearing, vision, and olfactory impairments, sensory co-morbidity and age-related macular degeneration in the Beaver Dam Offspring Study (BOSS) cohort, the associations of potential risk factors with these sensory impairments and ocular disorders, generational differences in risk and identify genetic markers for hearing impairment. Subjects are participants in the BOSS and were 21-84 years of age at the baseline examination (2005-2008). The proposed examination will use the same standardized protocols used in the baseline examination and will include a hearing evaluation (otoscopy, screening tympanometry, audiometry, word recognition and dichotic listening tests, distortion product otoacoustic emissions), eye examination (refraction, visual acuity measures, contrast sensitivity, and digital images of the lens and retina), olfaction testing (San Diego Odor Identification Test), and vascular measures (intima-medial thickness, blood pressure, retinal arteriolar and venular calibers, and pulse wave velocity). A standardized questionnaire about medical history, life-style factors and medication usage will be completed. Inflammatory markers (VCAM-1, TNF-1, hsCRP) will be measured on stored baseline samples to determine their associations with the incidence of sensory impairments. Stored samples from adults, ages 45-79 yrs in the BOSS and the parent cohort seen in the Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (AG11099), will be genotyped using a 50,000 SNP panel of candidate genes for cardiovascular disease, inflammation and diabetes. This study of middle-aged adults will provide important new information about the epidemiology of sensory impairments in the people born during the baby-boom period (1946-64) compared to people born in earlier periods. We propose that these sensory impairments share common underlying risk factors which may operate through inflammatory and vascular pathways. This study will contribute to developing interventions targeted at mid-life to prevent or delay the onset of these sensory disorders of aging and essential information for planning to meet the health care needs of the aging baby-boom generation.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed study will contribute important information about the risk of developing hearing, olfaction and vision impairments and age-related macular degeneration in middle-aged adults. Understanding factors associated with the development of these conditions could lead to new treatments targeted at improving health for tomorrow's elders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Neurological, Aging and Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (NAME)
Program Officer
Chen, Wen G
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Wisconsin Madison
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Schubert, Carla R; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Fischer, Mary E et al. (2015) Carotid Intima Media Thickness, Atherosclerosis, and 5-Year Decline in Odor Identification: The Beaver Dam Offspring Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 70:879-84
Fischer, Mary E; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Schubert, Carla R et al. (2014) The association of taste with change in adiposity-related health measures. J Acad Nutr Diet 114:1195-202
Dawes, Piers; Dickinson, Christine; Emsley, Richard et al. (2014) Vision impairment and dual sensory problems in middle age. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 34:479-88
Dawes, Piers; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Moore, David R et al. (2014) Cigarette smoking, passive smoking, alcohol consumption, and hearing loss. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 15:663-74
Wichmann, Margarete A; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Carlsson, Cynthia M et al. (2014) Long-term systemic inflammation and cognitive impairment in a population-based cohort. J Am Geriatr Soc 62:1683-91
Dawes, Piers; Fortnum, Heather; Moore, David R et al. (2014) Hearing in middle age: a population snapshot of 40- to 69-year olds in the United Kingdom. Ear Hear 35:e44-51
Paulsen, Adam J; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Fischer, Mary E et al. (2014) Dry eye in the beaver dam offspring study: prevalence, risk factors, and health-related quality of life. Am J Ophthalmol 157:799-806
Fischer, Mary E; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Schubert, Carla R et al. (2013) Taste intensity in the Beaver Dam Offspring Study. Laryngoscope 123:1399-404
Fischer, Mary E; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Schubert, Carla R et al. (2013) Factors related to fungiform papillae density: the beaver dam offspring study. Chem Senses 38:669-77
Nash, Scott D; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Huang, Guan-Hua et al. (2013) Unmet hearing health care needs: the Beaver Dam offspring study. Am J Public Health 103:1134-9

Showing the most recent 10 out of 38 publications