Get access
Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Relationship between allergic rhinitis, disturbed cognitive functions and psychological well-being

Authors

  • B. Kremer,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Medical Faculty of the University of Maastricht, and
      Bernd Kremer, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Maastricht, PO Box 5800, NL-6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail: b.kremer@kno.azm.nl
    Search for more papers by this author
  • H. M. Den Hartog,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J. Jolles

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author

Bernd Kremer, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Maastricht, PO Box 5800, NL-6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail: b.kremer@kno.azm.nl

Summary

Background Symptomatic allergic rhinitis reduces quality of life as a result of the symptoms experienced and possibly as a result of impaired psychological well-being and cognitive functioning. Few investigations have measured cognitive functions objectively and it remains uncertain whether allergic rhinitis leads to an objective reduction in cognitive functions.

Objective To evaluate the relationship between symptomatic allergic rhinitis, cognitive functions and psychological well-being. Differences between subjective and objective cognitive impairments were evaluated.

Methods The cognitive functions (working memory, memory retrieval, speed of information processing and flexibility of information processing) and psychological well-being of 26 patients with symptomatic allergic rhinitis and 36 healthy controls matched for intelligence, education, age and sex were compared. The influence of education, intelligence, sex and age was considered.

Results Overall, psychological well-being was significantly impaired in the patient group, as shown by higher scores in feelings of insufficiency, complaints of somatization, sleep disturbances and depressive feelings, whereas cognitive function was not.

Conclusions Allergic rhinitis was related to significantly impaired psychological well-being and to perceived impaired cognitive functioning. However, no significant objective impairment of cognitive functioning was found. Allergic patients may temporarily put more effort into sustaining performance, resulting in earlier exhaustion, which is not noticed during assessment but which impairs psychological well-being.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary