The purpose of this epidemiologic study is to determine the longitudinal associations of inflammatory factors, microvascular markers and atherosclerosis and the incidence of age-related hearing, olfactory and cognitive impairments. Mediating effects of statins and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on these associations will be examined and the 15-year incidence of hearing impairment and 10-year incidence of olfactory impairment will be determined. Subjects are participants in the population-based Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (EHLS) and were 48-92 years of age at the baseline examination (1993-95). The cohort was re-examined in 1998-2000 and 2003-05. Measures of carotid atherosclerosis were obtained in 1998-00. The proposed examination will use the same standardized protocols for hearing, olfaction, and cognitive testing used in the earlier phases and additional cognitive testing will be included. A standardized questionnaire about medical history, life-style factors and medication usage will be completed as an interview;carotid atherosclerosis will be re-measured by B-mode ultrasound scans;inflammatory markers (Il-6, TNF-a, and hsCRP) will be measured. Inflammatory markers also will be measured on stored serum samples from 1988-1990. Retinal microvascular measures from the Beaver Dam Eye Study will be available from multiple time points. Results from this study will have tremendous potential for leading to important translational research for new targeted treatments to reduce the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines and atherosclerotic changes and to reduce the burden of these age-related health disorders.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed study will contribute important information about the roles of inflammation and vascular changes in hearing, olfaction and cognitive impairments. Linking these processes with common conditions of aging could lead to new treatments targeted at reducing the long-term effects of inflammation and atherosclerosis and improve health for tomorrow's elders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award (R37)
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Study Section
Neurological, Aging and Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (NAME)
Program Officer
Chen, Wen G
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University of Wisconsin Madison
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Nash, Scott D; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Zhan, Weihai et al. (2014) Long-term assessment of systemic inflammation and the cumulative incidence of age-related hearing impairment in the epidemiology of hearing loss study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 69:207-14
Dawes, Piers; Dickinson, Christine; Emsley, Richard et al. (2014) Vision impairment and dual sensory problems in middle age. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 34:479-88
Klein, Ronald; Myers, Chelsea E; Cruickshanks, Karen J et al. (2014) Markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and endothelial dysfunction and the 20-year cumulative incidence of early age-related macular degeneration: the Beaver Dam Eye Study. JAMA Ophthalmol 132:446-55
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
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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
Zhong, Wenjun; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Schubert, Carla R et al. (2014) Pulse wave velocity and cognitive function in older adults. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 28:44-9
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
Fischer, Mary E; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Pinto, Alex et al. (2014) Hearing impairment and retirement. J Am Acad Audiol 25:164-70
Wichmann, Margarete A; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Nondahl, David M et al. (2013) Changes in environmental tobacco smoke exposure: the Beaver Dam experience. WMJ 112:53-7

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