On Tuesday 26 May 2020, P.H. Croll will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Hearing Function and Brain Health in the Elderly: Interrelations and Risk Factors’.
Chapter 1, the general introduction, provides the rationale and aim of this thesis. Recently, hearing loss has been identified as a promising modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. However, the mechanism underlying this association remains unknown. Several hypotheses have been proposed, amongst which are the common-cause hypothesis and the sensory-deprivation hypothesis. The common-cause hypothesis states that there is a third, common factor, both causing hearing loss and impoverished functional brain health. The sensory-deprivation hypothesis proposes that hearing loss has a direct, permanent negative effect on brain health. Therefore, it was the aim of this thesis to firstly, identify potential risk factors for both hearing function and brain health which may potentially be a third, common factor in the association between hearing loss and dementia. Established risk factors for dementia were selected to investigate as a potential common-cause. Secondly, I explored potential direct interrelations between hearing function and structural and functional brain health. Throughout this thesis, I have used data of the population-based Rotterdam Study and the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.
The PhD defences will not take place publicly in the Senate Hall or Professor Andries Queridoroom due to the coronavirus. The candidates will defend their thesis online.