A new study has found a link between damage to the inner ear system in Alzheimer’s disease patients and an increased risk of falls. The research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease is believed to be one of the first to demonstrate the vestibular system’s effect on balance.
Falls are a fundamental problem in Alzheimer’s disease patients. Previous research has shown that these patients fall at twice the rate compared to healthy older adults. This often leads to injury, nursing home placement, and early mortality. Vestibular function is often the cause of dizziness, vertigo, and balance issues, even in generally healthy people.
For the study, researchers examined 48 people diagnosed with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s disease who were seen at Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center over two years. The average age of all patients was 65, and 27 were male.
Researchers used devices to track eye and head movement responses to stimulate and mirror vestibular function. It was found that patients who had vestibular impairment on these tests over time were 50% more likely to fall compared to individuals with normal inner ear system function.
Senior study author, Yuri Agrawal M.D., said, “We call the vestibular system the sixth hidden sense because it functions almost at a subconscious level. It’s always ‘on’ and operates normally to keep us oriented as we move through space, sensing what’s up and what’s down and around us.”
Alzheimer’s disease research is generally focused on reducing or preventing memory loss and cognitive impairment. Still, this study helps to show that additional attention should be brought to the vestibular system, as it could help to improve the quality of life for many patients.
Brain and Hearing Health
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For those concerned with brain function due to aging, The Smart Pill can help enhance cognitive function and memory. It contains a unique formula of ingredients, including ginkgo Biloba, huperzine A, bacopa extract, rosemary extract, and a B vitamin complex. This doctor-formulated product can help to boost circulation, fight free radicals, and assist with cognitive function.
For older adults, it is essential to get the proper vitamins and nutrients to help keep the brain and inner ear system healthy. By eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercises, and taking daily supplements, the risk of any disease or illness can be reduced.