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)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Neurological, Aging and Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (NAME)
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St Hillaire-Clarke, Coryse
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University of Wisconsin Madison
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United States
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Fischer, Mary E; Cruickshanks, Karen J; Dillard, Lauren K et al. (2018) An Epidemiologic Study of the Association between Free Recall Dichotic Digits Test Performance and Vascular Health. J Am Acad Audiol :
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