The purpose of this epidemiologic study is to determine the 10-year incidence of hearing, vision, and olfactory impairments and sensory declines, generational differences in incidence, and the associations of potential risk factors wit declines in sensory and cognitive function in the Beaver Dam Offspring Study (BOSS) cohort. Subjects are participants in the BOSS and were 21-84 years of age at the baseline examination (2005-2008). The proposed examination will use standardized protocols used in the baseline and 5-year follow-up examination and will include a hearing evaluation (otoscopy, audiometry, word recognition and dichotic listening tests, distortion product otoacoustic emissions), eye examination (refraction, visual acuity measures, contrast sensitivity, accommodation, near vision, digital images of the retina and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography of the macula), olfaction testing (San Diego Odor Identification Test and olfactory threshold test), vascular measures (carotid ultrasound to measure the intima-medial thickness and blood pressure) and cognitive function measures (Trail Making Test, Auditory Verbal Learning Test, Verbal Fluency Test, Digit Symbol Substitution, Mini-Mental State Exam). A standardized questionnaire about medical history, life-style factors and medication usage will be completed. Hemoglobin A1C will be measured on blood samples obtained at the examination. Inflammatory markers will be measured on samples from the 5-yr and 10-yr follow-up. Vitamin D, B12, cadmium and lead levels will be measured to determine their associations with sensory and cognitive changes. Stored samples from adults in the BOSS and the parent cohort seen in the Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (AG11099), will be genotyped using a 384 SNP custom array for use in analyses evaluating associations of genetic risk scores with sensory and cognitive function. This study of middle-aged adults will provide important new information about the epidemiology of sensory impairments in the people born since World War II compared to people born in earlier periods. This study will contribute to developing interventions targeted at midlife to prevent or delay the onset of age-related changes in sensory and cognitive function and provide 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 risk factors for cognitive changes in middle-aged adults. Understanding factors associated with these conditions could lead to new treatments targeted at improving health for tomorrow's elders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Neurological, Aging and Musculoskeletal Epidemiology Study Section (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
Fischer, Mary E; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Nondahl, David M et al. (2016) Dichotic Digits Test Performance Across the Ages: Results From Two Large Epidemiologic Cohort Studies. Ear Hear :
Wichmann, Margarete A; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Carlsson, Cynthia M et al. (2016) NSAID Use and Incident Cognitive Impairment in a Population-based Cohort. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 30:105-12
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
Dawes, Piers; Emsley, Richard; Cruickshanks, Karen J et al. (2015) Hearing loss and cognition: the role of hearing AIDS, social isolation and depression. PLoS One 10:e0119616
Tremblay, Kelly L; Pinto, Alex; Fischer, Mary E et al. (2015) Self-Reported Hearing Difficulties Among Adults With Normal Audiograms: The Beaver Dam Offspring Study. Ear Hear 36:e290-9
Fischer, Mary E; Schubert, Carla R; Nondahl, David M et al. (2015) Subclinical atherosclerosis and increased risk of hearing impairment. Atherosclerosis 238:344-9
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; 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
Lu, Meng; Lee, Hye-Seung; Hadley, David et al. (2014) Logistic Principal Component Analysis for Rare Variants in Gene-Environment Interaction Analysis. IEEE/ACM Trans Comput Biol Bioinform 11:1020-8
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

Showing the most recent 10 out of 50 publications