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Sensory Loss and Risk of Dementia

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Meher LadORCiD, Dr William Sedley, Professor Tim GriffithsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2022. Sensory loss in olfaction, vision, and hearing is a risk factor for dementia, but the reasons for this are unclear. This review presents the neurobiological evidence linking each sensory modality to specific dementias and explores the potential mechanisms underlying this. Olfactory deficits can be linked to direct neuropathologic changes in the olfactory system due to Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease, and may be a marker of disease severity. Visual deficits potentially increase dementia risk in a vulnerable individual by reducing resilience to dementia. Hearing deficits may indicate a susceptibility to Alzheimer disease through a variety of mechanisms. More generally, sensory impairment could be related to factors associated with resilience against dementia. Further research is needed to tease out the specific and synergistic effects of sensory impairment. Studying sensory loss in relation to neurodegenerative biomarkers is necessary to clarify the mechanisms involved. This could produce new monitoring and management strategies for people at risk of dementia.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lad M, Sedley W, Griffiths TD

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neuroscientist

Year: 2024

Volume: 30

Issue: 2

Pages: 247-259

Print publication date: 01/04/2024

Online publication date: 28/09/2022

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (print): 1073-8584

ISSN (electronic): 1089-4098

Publisher: SAGE Publications Inc.


DOI: 10.1177/10738584221126090

PubMed id: 36169300