231903 NIH Toolbox for the Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function - Sensory Domain

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 5:15 PM - 5:35 PM

Howard J. Hoffman, MA , Epidemiology and Statistics Program, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD
Important public health goals are the maintenance of independent living, health, and quality of life, all of which may all be affected by sensory loss. By identifying avoidable risk factors and delaying the onset through early identification and treatment, we can lessen the burden of disease associated with sensory disorders. Identifying and intervening to ameliorate sensory disorders in childhood can have major and continuing effects on growth and development for healthy futures. All sensory impairments are known to increase with age, and with increasing life expectancy in the U.S., the prevalence of sensory impairments will increase dramatically.

Among the five senses, people depend on vision and hearing to provide the primary cues for conducting the basic activities of daily life. At the most basic level, vision and hearing together with vestibular balance and the proprioceptive sense (and other somatosenses) permit people to navigate and to stay oriented within their environment. The chemosenses of taste (gustation) and smell (olfaction) are the only human sensory systems with the capacity to regenerate after damage, meaning some recovery of function may be possible after onset of illness (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, stroke), head trauma, surgery, or other deleterious events. Since complete loss of taste and smell are uncommon, these conditions may seem insignificant when compared to blindness and deafness. However, sufferers of anosmia (complete loss of smell) or ageusia (complete loss of taste) often describe their lives as nearly unbearable because they are deprived of the many pleasant tastes and odors of daily living.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Understand the purpose, novel potential and promise of the NIH Toolbox.

Keywords: Epidemiology, Public Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Director, Epidemiology and Statistics Program, Division of Scientific Programs, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD), NIH and NIH Toolbox Sensory Team
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.