Objectives: The aims of this study were to estimate the prevalence of Ménière’s disease and investigate its relationship with: demographic factors; symptoms and conditions that are known or hypothesized to be associated with Ménière’s disease; other physical diseases; mental health.
Design: The authors used cross-sectional data from the UK Biobank to compare 1376 self-reported Ménière’s participants with over 500,000 without Ménière’s. The data set has comprehensive anthropometric measures, questionnaire data investigating health, well-being, diet, and medical and drug-prescribing history for each participant. The authors used logistic regression models to investigate the relationship of Ménière’s disease with: demographic factors; symptoms and conditions that are known or hypothesized to be associated with Ménière’s disease; other physical diseases; and mental health.
Results: Ménière’s disease was more common in participants who were older (adjusted odds ratio per 10-year increase: 1.5 [95% confidence interval:1.4–1.6]), white (odds ratio: 1.7;1.2–2.3), female (1.4;1.3–1.6), and having higher body mass index categories (p < 0.001). The Ménière’s group had greater odds of hearing difficulty (10.9;9.6–12.5), current tinnitus (68.3;47.8–97.5), and had fallen more than once in the last year (2.1;1.8–2.5). Ménière’s participants had greater odds of reporting at least one disease from each grouping of allergic, immune dysfunction, or autonomic dysfunction (2.2;1.8–2.6), and poor mental health (2.1;1.8–2.5).
Conclusions: This study provides an evidence base that improves understanding of Ménière’s disease. Associations were noted with a number of diseases, and the authors hypothesize a role for the autonomic nervous system and immune system dysfunction in Ménière’s etiology. The study also highlights the physical and mental health correlates of the condition.
Ménière’s is a multifactorial disease, exhibiting symptoms of vertigo, aural fullness, tinnitus, and hearing loss. Currently its etiology and health impacts are poorly understood. A greater understanding of this condition is required to delineate pathological pathways, and improve treatment for those with Ménière’s. Using data from the new UK Biobank, this study investigated demographic factors and other health conditions associated with Ménière’s disease in the largest study to date. The findings indicate that the autonomic nervous system has a role in Ménière’s etiology and suggests an intricate interplay between the autonomic and immune systems may contribute to the pathological pathway.
1European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, The Knowledge Spa, Truro Campus, Cornwall, United Kingdom; 2Department of ENT Surgery, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, United Kingdom; and 3PenCLAHRC, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, United Kingdom.
The authors declare no other conflict of interest.
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Address for correspondence: Jessica Tyrrell, University of Exeter Medical School, The European Centre for Environment and Human Health, The Knowledge Spa, Truro, Cornwall TR1 3HD, United Kingdom. E-mail: J.Tyrrell@exeter.ac.uk
Received September 23, 2013; accepted January 21, 2014.