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Early Life Experience Affects Adult Cognitive and Hensory Health

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Check out this post from Manchester Policy Blogs by Piers Dawes.

Dementia, hearing impairment and vision loss are amongst the most feared, most costly and difficult to treat problems in elderly people. One way of avoiding cognitive and sensory impairment in old age may involve increasing attention to the earliest experiences of life.

Sensory impairments are extremely common; one in three people over 65 years suffer sight loss, while seven in ten people over 70 years suffer hearing loss. Over the age of 80 years, one in six people suffers dementia. Besides having a substantial impact on the quality of life of sufferers and their families, treatment of cognitive and sensory impairments is expensive. Cognitive impairments and sensory impairments are in the top ten most costly chronic conditions in western countries.

It is now well established that pre-natal development affects susceptibility to disease including diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adulthood. A small amount of research has also hinted that pre-natal development may affect cognitive and sensory function in childhood and perhaps in adulthood too.

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