Researchers use CLSA data to examine link between cognition, hearing and vision loss

Thursday, March 12, 2020

By Patrick Lejtenyi, Concordia University

There is a long-established and widely recognized link between declines in sensory acuity — particularly hearing and vision — and cognition. Data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), involving tens of thousands of participants across the country aged 45 to 85, backs this up.

A recent study led by Montreal researchers asks why this relationship exists. Concordia University’s Natalie Phillips and her colleagues found that poor hearing especially was linked to declines in memory and executive function in otherwise relatively healthy, autonomous, community-dwelling older adults.

Their paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports, asks if social factors — loneliness, depression and so on — also play a role in cognitive decline.

“We really want to look at individuals who have more restricted social networks and less social support,” says Phillips, professor of psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Science and the paper’s co-author. “Are the ones who are getting less brain stimulation and less social enrichment experiencing poorer cognition?”

Phillips says they really did not find strong evidence of that. Read the full story here.