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Researchers used information from the ongoing Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging to study 126 adults ages 56 to 86 who had yearly MRI brain scans for up to a decade. Lin says the current theory is that hearing impairment doesn’t directly cause dementia but that it may exacerbate problems in brain function. Read the latest discoveries, exercise and memory-sharpening tips, health care reform and more! AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50 and older improve the quality of their lives.

The Heart of the Matter: What Does America Really Know about Coronary Artery Disease Treatments? A new study from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore may provide an explanation: Older adults with hearing problems appear to have a greater rate of brain shrinkage as they age. Fifty-one showed some degree of hearing loss, mostly mild to moderate; these people might have trouble hearing in a restaurant, for example. The researchers found that the brains of those with impaired hearing shrank faster than the brains of those with normal hearing, and that the atrophy was concentrated in the parts of the brain related to hearing.

Lin is planning a large study to research just that question, but results won’t be in for several years.

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