Exposure to cadmium, lead, and tobacco smoke and the 10-year cumulative incidence of olfactory impairment: The Beaver Dam Offspring Study

JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck SurgerySchubert CR, Pinto AA, Paulsen AJ, et al. | June 11, 2021

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This investigation draws on data from the Beaver Dam Offspring Study, a longitudinal cohort study of sensory health and aging in a general population, to determine the 10-year cumulative incidence of olfactory impairment and assess potentially modifiable risk factors for impairment including exposure to cadmium, lead, and tobacco smoke. In total, 2,312 participants without olfactory impairment at baseline and with olfaction data available at the 5- and/or 10-year examination were involved. Data reported that the 10-year cumulative incidence of olfactory impairment was 4.6% and increased with age. Cadmium and tobacco smoke exposure were modeled separately due to strong collinearity. Olfactory impairment was not linked to blood lead levels. The findings of this longitudinal cohort study imply that modifiable environmental exposures may play a role in aging-related olfactory impairment. The discovery of modifiable risk factors for olfactory impairment could lead to preventative methods that could minimize the burden of olfactory impairment in older people.

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