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July 4, 2017
Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 in relation to future hearing impairment: findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Lassale C, Batty GD, Steptoe A, Zaninotto P.
Sci Rep. 2017 Jun 23;7(1):4212. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04526-7.

Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) is associated with cardiovascular disease, itself a risk factor for hearing impairment, and, in animal studies, molecular evidence suggests a role for IGF-1 in hearing function. However, the link between IGF-1 and the occurrence of hearing impairment is untested in population-based studies of humans. A total of 4390 participants aged ≥50 y (mean [SD] age 64.2
[8.0] years at baseline, 55% women) from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing provided serum levels of IGF-1 in 2008 and again in 2012. Hearing acuity was assessed by an objective hearing test (HearCheck handheld device) in 2014 when the prevalence was 38.2%. In the full cohort, IGF-1 was not associated with subsequent hearing impairment (OR5nmol/L increase; 95% CI: 1.01; 0.94, 1.09).
However, this relationship appeared to differ by age (p-value for interaction = 0.03). Thus, in younger participants (aged 50-60 y, n = 1400), IGF-1 was associated with lower odds of hearing impairment (0.86; 0.73, 1.00) after adjustment for a range of potential confounders. Among people ≥60 y (n = 2990) there was a non-significant ‘J’-shaped association. Our observational evidence that higher levels of IGF-1 appeared to confer some protection against hearing impairment in some older adults warrants replication in other prospective cohort studies.