Health Advice



Keeping your senses -- and your wits -- about you

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

The recognition of five basic human senses -- vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste -- is often traced back to 350 B.C. when Aristotle wrote "De Anima." The senses intrigued him because they're what fuel our interaction with the outside world and with our inner voices, with external objects and the tender sensation of compassion (that healing touch!).

It's little wonder that if you neglect your hearing and visual health -- allowing yourself to disconnect from the information your senses transmit -- you up your risk for cognitive decline.

That's the conclusion of two studies. One, in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at 3,000 adults with cataracts and found that folks who had cataract surgery had nearly 30% lower risk of developing dementia from any cause than those who didn't have cataract surgery. Your brain wants -- and needs -- the stimulation that comes with good vision.

Another study out of Johns Hopkins Medicine followed 639 adults for almost 12 years and discovered that mild hearing loss doubled a person's risk of dementia, while moderate loss tripled the risk, and severe hearing impairment meant a person was five times more likely to develop dementia than someone with normal hearing.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure and rarely risky. So schedule an eye exam if you haven't seen an eye doctor in the past year, especially if you are age 55 or older. And make an appointment with an audiologist if you find that you strain to hear clearly. You can do a preliminary hearing evaluation online through United Healthcare at



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Mike at

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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