Exploring the genetic relationship between hearing impairment and Alzheimer's disease

Brittany L Mitchell, Jackson G Thorp, David M Evans, Dale R Nyholt, Nicholas G Martin, Michelle Katharine Lupton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Hearing loss has been identified as the potentially largest modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD), estimated to account for a similar increase in AD risk as the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene.

Methods: We investigated the genetic relationship between hearing loss and AD, and sought evidence for a causal relationship.

Results: We found a significant genetic overlap between hearing impairment and AD and a polygenic risk score for AD was able to significantly predict hearing loss in an independent cohort. Additionally, regions of the genome involved in inflammation were identified to be shared between hearing difficulty and AD. However, causality tests found no significant evidence of a causal relationship between these traits in either direction.

Discussion: Overall, these results show that the relationship between hearing difficulty and AD may, in part, be due to shared genes and immune response pathways between the traits. However, currently available data do not support a causal relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e12108
JournalAlzheimer's & dementia (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Issue number1
Early online date25 Sept 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Authors. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring published by Wiley Periodicals, LLC on behalf of Alzheimer's Association.


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